Mar 01, 2019The Ordination of Jeffrey Neal Stevenson

The Ordination of Jeffrey Neal Stevenson

On December 12, 2018 Jeffrey Stevenson was ordained into the priesthood at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri.

Fr. Jeff Stevenson Five-minute read.   Resources
Bishop Marty and Fr. Jeff. Image credit: Gary Allman

My husband Noah and I are recent transplants to the Kansas City area from Alexandria, Virginia outside of Washington DC. We came to Missouri to accept my first call as the new Assistant Rector at St. Andrew’s, Kansas City. I recently graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) after a long-deferred call to the priesthood.

I grew up in the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in Utah. I don’t remember knowing anyone that wasn’t LDS until I was a teenager and so my notion of what it meant to have faith was tied to that single tradition. This all changed in 1994 when I enlisted in the Navy. In the military my world opened to new realms of possibilities, to new ways of seeing the world, and to new ways of understanding what it meant to “have faith.” It was while I was in the Navy that I came to understand that faith took on many forms and I found myself exploring what it means to believe in God. Looking back on those years, I recognize now that I was being called to ordained life, but at that time I was not ready to hear or follow God’s call.

When I left active duty military, I decided to return home to Ogden, Utah where I begin working on a degree in Social Work. That plan was interrupted by the events of 9/11. My training in the Navy was in intelligence and satellite imagery, these skill sets were suddenly in high demand. I was recalled to active duty and served as an imagery analyst at the Office of Naval intelligence in Washington DC. When the yearlong recall to active duty came to an end, I accepted a position with a consulting firm in the DC area. It was not social work, but it was a way to make an impact in the world, so for the next 13 years I worked as a National Security & Intelligence consultant.

After many years of discernment, I realized I could no longer ignore the call to ordained life. In 2015 Noah and I decided it was time and so I left the intelligence community to enroll in the Master of Divinity Program at the VTS. During seminary I explored my passion for ministry in the context of trauma, writing my thesis entitled “Confession and the Moral Injuries of War.” I also worked as a chaplain at the local hospital, served as the chaplain to the Alexandria Police Department, and began working on Veterans ministries. Academically, I discovered a love of Hebrew and Aramaic; studying deeper meaning in some of my favorite Old Testament stories through translation. Most importantly, my call to walk with all of God’s people has driven me to explore my passion for the ministries of preaching, pastoral care, and community engagement.

Image credit: Gary Allman

Though we have lived in the Washington, DC area for over 15 years, Noah and I are both excited about this new adventure in Kansas City. We are thrilled to be joining St. Andrew’s and The Diocese of West Missouri family.

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