Most everyone calls me Gary. A few people call me Mr. Manning (even though I often turn around looking for my dad when they do!). Some church folks persist in calling me “Father” (old habits die hard!). I am a priest in the Episcopal Church. Presently, I am the rector (pastor) of Trinity Church (http://www.trinitywauwatosa.org) in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I arrived in Wisconsin in July 2004.
Until I moved to Wisconsin, I had never lived outside of the South — Virginia, Florida and Tennessee.
I’m still very new to the world of blogging. My efforts here are primarily “occasional”, meant to be reflective and are sometimes autobiographical, but hopefully always have an eye turned toward theology as the lived experience of the Christian Faith. From time to time my posts are political, but I do my best to steer clear of partisanship. I don’t usually comment on “the Episcopal Church” (there are plenty of other people who do that sort of thing). I believe there is much more to the Mystery often named as “God” than most of us can imagine, but I believe we most often run into that Mystery while we are busy living our lives — lives filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. I’m pretty convinced “God” cannot be contained in an institution (although plenty of institutions continue to try to do just that!). I still believe the Church as the Body of Christ (not as a building with a street address or a denomination with rules, regulations and bylaws) not only points us toward God, but actually introduces us to life with God as we learn to live in neighborly generosity with each other. My understanding of Jesus as the embodiment of God informs much of what I write, but I do my best not to be obnoxiously preachy.
I named this blog “Soulwerker” in hopes of reminding myself that the primary task I have as a “paid religious professional” is not the efficient management of a branch office (commonly called “a parish”) for the Episcopal Church, but rather, my work, as described through the centuries, is “the cure/care of souls”. I am only concerned with buildings, grounds, budgets, committees, programs and ministries to the extent those things impinge upon and deepen people’s awareness of their own souls. Soul work doesn’t look much like work most of the time, but it’s the work I most want to do all the time.