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October 31, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 11B Matt Warren ordained deacon on Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com Matt Warren attended Yale University Divinity School with no intention of becom- ing a priest, but this husband and father of two is now on that path. Warren, 33, himself the son of an Episcopal priest, is con- tinuing the family tradition. He was ordained a deacon Oct. 13 in a ceremony at Christ the King Church in Quipcy and if all goes as planned will become a priest next spring. Most of Warren's class- mates at Yale planned to be- come priests, but Warren wanted to become a "profes- sor of church and state" com- bining his two passions of government and theology. Warren said that many peo- ple at Yale had "call stories" -- dramatic accounts of the moment that they were called to the priesthood. Warren had no such experience. He worried that "if he hadn't been struck by light- ning" he shouldn't be a priest. He asked those whom he most respected about his dilemma. He said the best piece of ad- vice he received came from a professor who compared be: coming a priest to serving in the military: "Some people are drafted into this service; others enlist." That made sense to Warren and he began the path to priesthood in 2002. But the process, which usually takes about three years, stalled when Warren's father became seriously ill. During the past decade, Warren's father fought ~i vari- "Dad lived his life by asking, "Could a normal person be a priest?'" "Can you be a priest and watch "The Amazing Race'?" Matt Warren ety of ailments, and died just three weeks before his Son's ordination. Last week we sat in the back pew of Christ the King and Warren talked about his faith, the involved process to priesthood and his hopes for his church. Warren started his theolog- ical studies one week before Sept. 11. "That experience and making sense of it be- came the backdrop of my sem- inary," he said. "The question after Sept. 11 became 'How could God let this happen?' "But when the tsunami hit, and then Katrina, people started asking 'Where is God in this tragedy?'" He likened it tothe cross, which, at the time of Jesus, was considered the most bru- tal, most agonizing, means of death, "Now it's the sign for eter- nal life," Warren said of how God can "transform tragedy into something beautiful." Warren notes that atten- dance among all denomina- tional.churches is down, and that even nondenominational churches are losing members. "We are answering the wrong questions," Warren The Warren family is all smiles after Matt Warren was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church on Oct. 13. Matt's wife Kristy, whom he met on the first day of college, is the principal at Pioneer/Quincy Elementary School. Their children are 4-year-old Abby and 2-year-old John. The family currently lives in Portola, but is hoping to relocate soon to the Quincy area to be closer to family and work. Photo submitted said of church leaders, "and people stopped coming." He cites as an example the issue of abortion, and the de- bate that surrounds it, while the everyday issues that peo- ple are facing go unad- dressed, rendering church ir- relevant to their lives. "The Episcopalian Church isn't challenging people in the pews," he said. Warren said that the church model is successful, as evidenced by the fact that it has endured for 2,000 years, but he thinks that needs to evolve in this era of social media. "We're not making the transition," he said. He said he ponders how the four walls of a church can be transformed into an online experience. "Could gamification do something for the church?" Warren asked, nothag the ex- traordinary communities that develop around online games. Looking toward the future, Warren sees enormous paten- tial and is looking forward to tives of the four gospels. "We not only working within need to make it intriguing Christ the King, but starting a enough," he said. ministry with Feather River Warren gets excited as he College students and the talks about his plans for the greater Community. future. Warren said that when he He has spent the past three was growing up, WWJD years training for this experi- (What Would Jesus Do) be- ence -- a process that takes came very popular. "That was an individual from being thoroughly not helpful when I named a postulate to a candi- was 13 and attending a junior date to a transitional deacon high dance," Warren said. to a priest. Would Jesus choose the During each of the steps, prettiest girl in the room and the individual meets with ask her to dance, or would he four groups of people who as- look for someone who hadn't sess his or her suitability for been asked to dance and ap- the calling. proach her? Warren won- "A person says 'I want to be dered, orda.ined' and then it's the Twenty years later, Warrenchurch's call," Warren said. is putting his own spin onHe noted that there are sev- WWJD and asking, "What eral opportunities for both would Jesus drink?" as he the individual and the church plans a new outreach class, to halt the process. His offering would be simi- In addition to the commit- tar to "Theology on Tap," a tee reviews, Warren took a popular Catholic program, psychologicaltest that includ- featuring ministry in a bar. ed 2,000 questions, three es- Warren said he would work says and an interview with a with other local churches to trained psychologist. study the different perspec- The church wants to ensure that an individual is a good match for its ministry. As part of his preparation, Warren has been working at High Desert State Prison, be- cause candidates are encour- aged to "work outside of their comfort zone." He said entering the prison doors was definitely not com- fortable, but he had "never been called. 'sir' so much." He said the inmates were very respectful and when the as- signment ends in November he hopes to work with Plumas County Jail inmates and staff. As a deacon, he vows to lead a "life of service." As a priest, it is his role to bless, sanctify and pardon. But Warren also has the roles of husband and father, and he plans to use his own father as a role model. "Dad lived his life by ask- ing, 'Could a normal person be a priest?'" Warren said. "Can you be a priest and watch 'The Amazing Race'?" I don't know about "The Amazing Race," but Warren definitely watches the San Francisco Giants, his favorite baseball team. During our in- terview we both kept an eye on the clock as Game 6 of Na- tional League Championship Series loomed. He said he and his wife, Kristy, the principal of Pio- neer-Quincy Elementary School, have discussed his po- sition and its effects on their family life. The couple, which has been together since they met on the first day of college at Occi- dental, have two children -- Abby, 4, and John, 2. Warren knows what it's like to be the son of a priest. Warren refers to himself as a PK -- priest's kid. Now he jokes that his own children will be "PK squared," because they will be both the princi- pal'sand the priest's kids. , STORAGE PRINTING TREE SERVICE TAX PREPARATION TRAVEL AGENCY Mount n Pl qbhlj SPA, HOT TUB & POOL SPECIALIST Bob Rodgers 530-283-2752 CA Cont. 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