Father Waylon Lawrence was ordained into the Sacred Order of Priests on July 18 at St. John’s Cathedral in Quincy, IL. Fr. Waylon graduated from Nashotah House this past May and is serving as Curate at St. John’s Cathedral. High-energy with a quick sense of humor, here’s Fr. Waylon in his own words…
Describe your journey into Anglicanism and into ordained ministry
My journey into Anglicanism and into ordained ministry coincided with one another. After graduating from Lincoln Christian College with my Bachelor’s degree I worked for three years as a minister at a small non-denominational Christian Church in Southern Illinois. During this time I was discerning two things: First, that I was indeed called to serve God’s people; and second, that the non-denominational Christian Church was not where I belonged.
During this time I was taking in a lot of sacramental theology through books and podcasts. I came to the conviction that there were blind spots in the theology of my little non-denomination that were seriously crippling us. I came to the conviction that if I was going to serve God’s people in the best way that I could, then I needed to be able to lead them to the grace that’s made available to us in the sacraments.
I spent some time retreating at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Bartonville. To make a long story short(ish), Alison and I sat down and met with Bishop Morales and Fr. Shawn Doubet in November of 2011. After that meeting we both felt an overwhelming sense of peace and we knew that we had found the home we had been looking for in the Diocese of Quincy. The following January I started taking distance courses at Nashotah House and the rest is history.
You just moved to Quincy to work at St John’s. What roles and tasks will you be doing there?
As the curate, I’m here to help Fr. Patrick in any way that I can. We’ve been in the process of discerning exactly what this will look like, but I know for sure that it will involve working with our student ministry. I will also be helping to develop our online presence on social media (I’m particularly qualified in this area, having taken and posted countless pictures of myself on Instagram). Of course I will be sharing in the role of preaching and celebrating the mass. Overall, I’m just going to be helping in any way that I can.
What are the 3 best things about life in Quincy so far?
1. The size of the town is perfect. It’s small enough for me that I don’t feel suffocated (I grew up in a town of 1,200 people love the small town life). But it’s also big enough that my wife, who grew up in Naperville, doesn’t feel like she’s been cut off from all civilization.
2. The people at St. John’s. This parish is beautiful, the people are welcoming and supportive. There is no pressure to be anything or anyone other than who I am. This non-anxious, welcoming atmosphere is definitely one of the strong points of St. John’s Parish!
3. Our house. After spending two years in a 2 bedroom apartment, first with one kid and two dogs and then two kids and one dog, we now live in a sprawling three bedroom mansion with a full basement and garage that has been turned into a wood shop. After our Babylonian Exile to Wisconsin it is so nice to have a place to call home again!
You’re married with 2 young sons. Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to my wife, Alison, for six years now. We met in Bible College where we were both in the preaching program. After sitting in class together for three years and my not really talking to her – to be fair I really only talked to the guys I played Xbox with – we started talking and got engaged in a period of about 4 weeks in the fall of 2007. According to Myers-Briggs, Alison is my exact opposite in every possible way so we’re great for each other!
I’ve been blessed with two sons. Arlo turned 3 years old last May. He’s my little sidekick. My youngest son just turned a year old at the end of April. His name is Augustus but he goes by Gus or Baby Gus at home. He’s getting ready to start walking and has begun to communicate by grunting a lot. He kind of sounds like a cross between a weed whacker and a grizzly bear cub. I really enjoy being a dad. The boys and I spend a lot of time playing trucks and trains and wrestling around on the floor. They also like to come out to the garage and play while I’m working on stuff. Augustus likes to play in the sawdust while Arlo plays with some of my less dangerous hand tools. Don’t tell their grandmas.
Who’s your favorite saint? Why?
My favorite saint is Abba Moses of Ethiopia, or St. Moses the Black. I first heard about Abba Moses on a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. I was drawn to him because of the story of how he had once been an outlaw and then after his conversion he gave himself to monastic discipline. While I was never an outlaw on the same level as St. Moses, I spent the last part of my teens and first part of my twenties doing things that would have put me cross ways with the law had I been caught, so I’ve always held him as an example to shoot for. I hope that I too will be remembered, not for the stupid things I did in my youth but for my devotion to Christ.
What do you do with your free time?
When I have free time I have three main interests. I like to lift weights, dabble in wood working, and play video games. While I was in seminary I started working out with a couple guys and after a few months I found that I really loved it, so now my first priority in my free time is lifting. My goal is to pack as much muscle as is humanly possible onto my frame. I want to bench press 405 pounds. I want to squat 600 and deadlift 700. My main goal with lifting weights is to get so big that the doctor refers me to a veterinarian.
I also really enjoying making things out of wood. I’m on a kick right now of taking apart wood pallets and building stuff out of them. The current project I’m working on is a standing desk for my office, and then I have plans for a farm table dinner table for my dining room.
Video games have had to take a back seat with seminary and young children at home, but I’m looking forward to my boys getting old enough to start playing them with me. I get a little overwhelmed watching parents drive their kids around to three or four different after school activities so my plan is to get Arlo and Augustus on the Nintendo Team, just like their old man was when he was in school.