Meet Tom Swegle

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Updates

a0a44ef5-099a-48a3-9ea0-8e64075502431. Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became a Christian? I am a cradle Anglican because my mom became an Anglican when she was 12 years old. I was born into Grace Episcopal Church (former location) in December of 1946 and baptized there in June of 1947. I attended there on a regular basis until I left for college in the fall of 1965. While in college at Western Illinois University, search I attended either St. George’s or St. Paul’s Catholic Church with my Roman Catholic friends. In 1972, drugs after we were married, my wife and I found our church home at Trinity, Rock Island. It is there that our two sons were baptized and confirmed. We left Trinity to move to Springfield in October of 2012 because of the impending birth our first granddaughter.

2. When did you feel the call to ministry? Once we knew we were headed for Springfield, my wife Sylvia and I met with Bishop Morales and then-Bishop Wes Nolden at the Abbey. We were concerned that Springfield had three Episcopal Churches but no ACNA church. When we presented our problem to the bishops, Bishop Morales told me that we would go to Springfield and plant a church, and I would become a deacon. I believe that God speaks through our bishop, so I listened very carefully to him and here I am. Although that may have been my ultimate call, I have been called to the ministry throughout my church life. I was a lay deacon at Trinity for many years, as well as teaching Sunday School, serving on the Vestry, being both Junior and Senior Warden, and sponsoring the Youth Group, among other things.

3. Do you feel you have a call to a specific type of ministry? After 43 years of teaching high school, I was sure that my ministry would be with teenagers, but God seems to have a different idea. I have been led, along with Fr. David Byer, to a ministry at the Villas of Holly Brook, a senior living facility located in Chatham, just south of Springfield. I go there every Wednesday afternoon to call Bingo and return there on Wednesday evening at 6:15 with Fr. Dave for Evening Prayer and Bible Study. We also celebrate Holy Communion there the first, third and fifth Sundays each month.

4. Who are the people who have been the most influential in your life? My priests have been most influential in my life, in particular Father George DeGraff from Grace Church, who was priest when I was growing up and serving at the altar, and Father Laurence Larson, long time priest at Trinity in Rock Island, who has remained in the Episcopal Church, but who will always be my spiritual brother.

5. What is your favorite scripture(s)? My favorite scripture and my life verse is Romans 8:28. This was the text of the funeral sermon when my 17 year old sister was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966. Another favorite scripture is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God..”

6. What are your other interests and/or occupations outside of church? Aside from church, I have had a long time interest in community theater, having directed many shows at Quad City Music Guild and Playcrafters Barn Theater in Moline. Since moving to Springfield, I have become a volunteer at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The rest of my time is spent studying for my deacon courses or enjoying our two beautiful granddaughters, Blair (2 ½) and Ruby (4 months).

7. Anything else you would like to add? I am very grateful to Fr. Tom Janikowski, Deacon Rod Bales, Deacon Jason Bowden and the congregation of Trinity Anglican Church, Rock Island. This was our church home for 40 years and they have supported me prayerfully, spiritually and financially in this venture.
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