Fr. Jason has spent more than half of his life studying faith. He has worshiped with all kinds of traditions and learned about different religions to find commonalities and also what makes each one unique. He is the newest chaplain to join the St. Paul’s team.
Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Fr. Jason grew up in a Baptist household. His mother, a homemaker, and his father, an electrician, encouraged him to find the path he felt was right for him.
Fr. Jason became an ordained priest in the Episcopalian Church at the age of 29. He has a Master of Divinity degree and a love for music, his minor in college. His heroes as a child were his Sunday school teachers.
“Every Sunday I was told that no matter what anyone tells you – God loves you, Jesus loves you; you are loved unconditionally,” Fr. Jason shared. “My Sunday school teachers were the ones that influenced me the most. I wanted to change the trajectory that religion is love-based instead of fear-based and that we focus on what we are for instead of what we are against.”
Leading with love, Fr. Jason believes that everyone needs a safe place to talk. For the past 10 years, he has served as a caretaker for his parents. His dad, who passed away last April, received care at St. Paul’s McColl Health Center.
“The staff at McColl helped my father build up his strength so that he was able to come home, have a time of health, and then be strong enough to stay at home. The care he received at McColl really made a difference. It gave my father and my family extra quality of life that we wouldn’t have had.”
Fr. Jason’s mother was diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia and is now in an assisted living community. He admits that he struggled with a sense of guilt during the transition.
“I wrestled with not having my mother live with me,” Fr. Jason explains. “In 66 years she had always lived with her immediate family. I realize now that she is getting the care she needs. She is safe and healthier. I know what places like St. Paul’s can do in bringing peace of mind to families in knowing their loved ones are cared for.”
His personal experiences make him uniquely qualified to help others. He wants to make sure that caregivers know he is here for them as well.
“If the people who are caregivers know they have a person that cares about them, then we are all going to be healthier, and we are going to be able to serve people that need to be cared for and be able to do it more effectively,” Fr. Jason believes. “We all have stress. I am here should anyone need to talk.”