Dr. “Buz” Wilcoxon

Growing up on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I have always been fascinated with the water. Daring ocean adventures, naval heroes, pirate treasures, and creatures under the sea filled my imagination as a child. As I grew older, I began to understand my life in terms of a different kind of water, the waters of baptism. As I matured into my baptismal faith, I was nurtured by a wonderfully supportive church family: Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope, AL. It was in that sanctuary that I was confirmed, married, and ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. This grounding of imagination in the baptismal faith of the church guides my approach to ministry.

My sense of call began while serving as the youth representative on our congregation’s Pastor Nominating Committee. With a knowledge that ministry lay in my future, I enrolled at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, where I studied Religion, Philosophy, and History and participated in many extracurricular activities including the Presbyterian Student Association and Celtic Cross (a PCUSA leadership development program). Serving in a number of internships during college was significant to my developing sense of call. For two summers, I served as a generalist intern at a First Presbyterian Church in Bay Minette, AL. I also served in the chaplain’s office at PC, first as an intern for Student Volunteer Services and later as the Pre-Seminary Intern. My time at PC instilled in me a deep sense that service and the pursuit of truth are integral parts of the life of faith.

After graduating from PC and getting married to my wife, Ryann, I enrolled at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. I enjoyed the full range of theological education and participated in various urban ministries in the Atlanta area. I served on the seminary’s board of trustees and participated with many different committees and groups on campus. Through my seminary experience both in the classroom and in off-campus internships I grew in my pastoral identity. I became particularly passionate about generalist ministry and the relationship between the many roles of congregational life such as teaching, preaching, pastoral care, mission, fellowship, worship, and community life.

After graduating from Columbia I was called to serve Fourth Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, as their associate pastor. My major areas of responsibility included youth, young adults, and mission as well as overseeing the church centennial celebration. In my years of service to this thriving and learned congregation, I came to love and cherish the beautiful web of intersections that grows from these many areas of ministry as well as the joy of finding new ways for members (of all ages) to grow together in faith, fellowship, wisdom, and compassion. In 2011, I enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry degree program at Columbia Seminary. Through this program, I am exploring the relationship between our patterns of worship and how we tell and re-tell the story of our past.

In addition to this vocational call, I also have a strong sense of call as a husband to my wife, Ryann, and as a father to our children, Lohi Grace and Wilson. As we journey together as a family we are excited to do so within the community of caring church families. Ryann is passionate about working with children.

I am also an avid sports fan with allegiances to the Atlanta Braves and the Alabama Crimson Tide. I have participated in a variety of sports, and especially love playing golf (but I usually don’t love my score). In addition to interests in religion and theology, I am a very active history buff, and I am often made fun of by friends for telling long stories about the history of nearly everything in sight.

As I look ahead to the next chapter of my ministry at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, I am convinced that our hopes for the future will be shaped by the wisdom we learn from our past, as we seek to discern together who God is calling us to be.

Dr. “Buz” Wilcoxon