Meet The Pastor:
Rev. Raymond Massenburg, Ph.D., age 46
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
1415 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005
Years served: 2
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Education: DePaul University, Chicago, Ill.; Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; University of Illinois, Chicago; and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Ill.
(Updated 10/07/2013) The story of my call to ministry has been a lot of different steps. I actually heard my call first when I was a little boy, but I wasn’t ready to take it seriously until I was in my 30s. I was pretty much un-churched at that time. I found the Episcopal Church haphazardly; one of my fraternity brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, happened to be a rector of a big thriving church in Chicago. I started attending that church. I was studying and I had become a professor. My plan was to be a professor and have a church on the south side of Chicago. But while I was in seminary I was working with another rector who was a full-time doctor and a rector. I thought that he was overwhelmed. At that point I realized that if I was going to be a rector or priest, I needed to focus full time. So God blessed me with the best associate rector position in Chicago. I did that for awhile. It dawned on me that there were not a lot of opportunities in Chicago. Now the funny thing is that if I had known that, I probably would not have thought to get ordained. It’s interesting how the Lord gave me a little bit at a time. So I applied nationally, but before I even applied, I started talking to clergy around the nation and everyone said to me that I would be great at St. Luke’s. I applied to St. Luke’s and I got called to the church as priest-in-charge and from priest-in-charge to rector. Now I am the rector of the best Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. My Installation as the ninth rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will be 4 p.m., Nov. 3.
What was the biggest surprise when you started ministry?
My biggest surprise in coming to St. Luke’s is how active and strong the parishioners are. They are my greatest blessings because they are both wise and strong and have strong theological and spiritual backgrounds.
What aspect are you most proud of?
The Episcopal Church nationally has been seeing a decrease in membership; however, since I have been at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the church has been growing by leaps and bounds. I think it has a lot to do with the spirit of the people and the energy of the place.
What’s the most exciting thing about your ministry?
St. Luke’s is a historically Black congregation with a very unique challenge. The church was built pretty much right after slavery. However, we are now in an area that is predominately white or multicultural. We have a large LGBTQ community around us. The most exciting thing is how we will embrace diversity and what that will mean for a place like St. Luke’s and our history.
How does social media enhance your ministry, or not?
One thing for sure is that social media does play a role. Nowadays before someone comes to your church, they want to find who you are on the internet and they want to see what you are about. Our website is www.stlukesdc.org. I’m active on twitter @ RevRayMass and I have over 1,000 followers.
Who in your community most inspires you?
I’m inspired by Joseph Wysocki, a Roman Catholic Priest, who is Caucasian. He has come to this church and has really put together a wonderful and thriving music program. It’s like the St. Luke’s of old.
What’s your favorite form of recreation and self-care?
I like to relax and hang out with my family. I have a wonderful wife, my bride, Yvonne of 11 years and we have two sons, Raymond and Malcolm, who serve as acolytes. I like spending family time with my wife and sons. I like to work out at the gym.