The Rev. Kevin M. Goodman | Substack

Welcome to my home on Substack! Thanks for stopping by.

As an Episcopal Priest, I am fortunate to speak with people about their relationship with God and their spiritual hopes and dreams. As the executive director of Education for Ministry (EfM), School of Theology, at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, I read, reflect, and constantly challenge my beliefs. I am most energized when studying and reflecting with others trying to discover how God is working in the present moment and discerning together what God is calling us to do. We need to support and encourage each other on this journey of faith.

Welcome to my Substack. Here, you will find my sermons, reflections, margarita reviews, upcoming retreats, spiritual resources, and other musings I hope will encourage God-seekers, including myself, on the faith journey.

I am overjoyed to serve in the School of Theology at the University of the South at Sewanee as the executive director of EfM, Education for Ministry.

I am from New Orleans, the city of great coffee, delicious food, the Saints, Drew Brees, and the birthplace of Jazz. I love God, movies, the New Orleans Saints, Walt Disney World, and Kate Bush.

Growing up, I had a mad crush on Gilda Radner. Through her love and delight for the human condition, Radner created memorable characters who always invited laughter, reflection, celebration, and truth. Emily Litella was committed and opinionated, but her perspective was usually off because she always heard the wrong things. Lisa Loopner loved Todd and awkwardly navigated her way through middle school adolescence. Judy Miller confronted her childhood loneliness and boredom by engaging her imagination. But my favorite was Roseanne Roseannadanna. Roseanne was an unskilled news anchor who was often overwhelmed by the questions and circumstances of life. She often found herself contextually overwhelmed, seeking certainty through the wisdom passed on to her by her Nana Rosannadanna.

When I learned that Gilda Radner was living with cancer, I read every page of her book It's Always Something. Her insights, wisdom, and bravery ultimately suggest that many things don't make sense. I believe community-built, nourished, and, sustained by congregational relationships open unexpected doorways of understanding within uncertain times.

As a seeker of God and as a follower of Christ, I seek inspiration, understanding, and connection through relationships and through story. During middle school, I was influenced primarily by an English singer named Kate Bush. Her initial single, "Wuthering Heights," which she wrote at 16, was one of the more interesting videos on MTV back in the day when they actually played music videos. Her biggest hit in the United States was "Running Up That Hill: A Deal with God," a track that tells the story of a couple whose marriage is failing. To save their love, they beg God to allow them to switch places so that they can gain a new understanding of each other from the other's perspective. Besides Kate Bush, I am continually inspired by Joan Armatrading, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, The Smiths, and Peter Murphy. I also am a fan of Led Zeppelin but preferably on vinyl.

Books that have had a profound impact on my worldview (besides the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer!) are A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, Queer by William Burroughs, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

My favorite bible story is from the prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 37:1 - the valley of dry bones. God takes the prophet and drops him into a mass grave of dry bones. These skeletons have been hanging out in the heat for years. God, always the clever one, asks Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?" Ezekiel meekly replies that only God knows. Only you know God. This story speaks to me because of theory vs. reality. In theory, and with great hope and expectation, I have read and believe in the resurrection promise. But, if God dropped me into a valley of dry bones, I would say, "OK, God, now let me see put into action what you have promised." God would probably just to scare some sense into me.

Jaws is my favorite film of all time, with What's Up Doc? and Hair a close second. I am constantly struck with the parallels between the shark, murky water, and the constant struggle to stay afloat with our Baptismal Covenant. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. "I will with God's help." Having worked in and taught in television for many years, it is difficult to identify my favorite show of all time, but if I had to, it would be The Wire because "all the pieces matter." I am also a big fan of Dexter, NCIS: New Orleans, and Survivor.

My personal motto, my mission statement, is "Looking for God in the cracks and crevices of culture. If we can dream it, we can do it." The first sentence is something I made up. The second sentence comes from a now-torn-down ride at Epcot Center, Walt Disney World, called Horizons. I have visited the Walt Disney World Resort every year since it opened. It is a twelve-hour drive from New Orleans, so it is easy to get there. At Walt Disney World, my family solidified its story and called it sacred. It is where my family experienced laughter, divorce, death, joy, and delight, all within the context of hope for the future. When life was rough, we traveled together to the place where dreams come true. Because, with God's help, I believe they do.

"I want to be where the people are." (The Little Mermaid). "We don't like what we don't understand, in fact it scares us, and this monster is mysterious at least." (Beauty and the Beast). "Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?" (Pocahontas). "I can open your eyes. Take you wonder by wonder. Over sideways and under on a magic carpet ride." (Aladdin). "Our father, who art in heaven..." (Jesus) When we ride on the Carousel of Progress, we consider that there's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. When we move into the Enchanted Tiki Room, we are delighted because the birds sing sweetly. When we board a boat where children from around the world sing in harmony, it is a small world after all. Through the power of the imagination, we discover "that we do have wings. We can do all these things."(Eastern) "If we can dream it, we can do it." (General Electric)

I grew up at All Saints’ River Ridge, an Episcopal Church on the levee, up the river from downtown. Growing up at All Saints' was a true blessing. I was raised in a community where difference was accepted, honesty was expected and the celebration of sacrament mixed with the expectation of good gumbo. I studied at Loyola University New Orleans, earning a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Asian Studies. At Loyola, I studied Zen with the the Rev. Ben Wren, S.J.Through his Christian approach to the Buddhist discipline of zazen, I learned to pray, to sit, to listen, then to get up off the cushion and act. I spent my junior year in Xi’an, The People’s Republic of China, studying Chinese language and culture.

​After graduating from college, I became a mentor for the University of the South's Education for Ministry (EfM) program, and I organized groups and served in this capacity until accepting my current call. Prior to accepting my call to ordained ministry, I worked as a TV Producer. I produced documentaries, served as a videographer on numerous projects, and occasionally directed live television. After one particularly exhausting project, I left television and made futons for three years.

2001 I left New Orleans to study at The General Theological Seminary in New York City. I did my seminarian field placement at St. Luke in the Fields where I developed a passion for working with homeless youth and serving people living and dying with HIV/AIDS.

When I arrived in Chicago, I worked with The Night Ministry on the Youth Outreach Team (YOT), building community with young people residing on the streets in Lake View. Additionally, I served as an assistant at St. Matthew’s Evanston, corroborating with the rector and the congregation to develop youth programs and outreach ministries.

I was called to serve as curate at All Saints’ Chicago where I was program director for Ravenswood Community Services (RCS), an agency of Episcopal Charities. RCS is the non-profit All Saints’ established as the church’s hunger and poverty relief outreach ministry to neighbors in Uptown and Ravenswood. Through RCS, I worked with an incredible group of volunteers, feeding the homeless and working poor, supporting school-based healthcare centers, and establishing mentoring programs at neighborhood schools.

At Saint James Cathedral, I served as the Associate Dean. I was responsible for congregational growth, development, and formation. I convened the Parish Council and worked with the Dean to empower leaders to minister to each other in order to change the world.

I served as Associate Rector for Children's Ministries at St. Chrysostom's Chicago. Concurrently, I worked with the headmistress of St. Chrysostom's Day School, as Day School Chaplain. Weekly, I developed and led nine in-class chapels and 1 monthly all-school chapel for students, parents and caregivers.

I served as the Associate Rector at St. Matthew's Evanston, where I partnered with the rector and ministry teams, building community in a complicated world.

Inspired by the work of Marshall Ganz and Cesar Chavez, I sensed a call to interim ministry. I completed my service as interim rector for the people of St. Elisabeth’s Glencoe. After St. Elisabeth's, I worked with the people of All Saints' Western Springs, Illinois as their interim rector. While there, we discerned system realities, explored congregational identity, and re-established community connections during the COVID pandemic. Prior to accepting my call as Executive Director of EfM, I served as the Interim Rector of St. Christopher’s, Oak Park, Illinois. I worked with the congregation to identify mission and purpose within personal, congregational, and holy story.

I am married Anton Goodman, my partner of twenty-five years. We live in the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago.

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Faithfully, I remain
The Rev. Kevin M. Goodman
Executive Director, Education for Ministry (EfM)
The School of Theology, the University of the South

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Executive Director, Education for Ministry (EfM), loves God, movies, Disney, monorails, New Orleans, and Kate Bush @therevkevin