Click here for glowing Photo Essay of Paul, Joey and Ellie by Noah Berger
Click here for Paul’s lovely gift of words about his Mom, Marjorie Lunan
Click here for photos and description of Today We Celebrate Paul Mowry , on the wonderful occasion of his first anniversary with SPC
Our Pastor, Paul Mowry
Paul is a “second career” minister from a family long steeped in the Presbyterian Church. His mother is an elder and his father, grandfather and great-great grandfather were Presbyterian ministers. Some of his favorite keepsakes are their sermons, including handwritten sermons of his great-great grandfather’s from the 1790′s. His sister and cousin are also ordained ministers (United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist, respectively).
Paul moved many times growing up and lived in many different cultures: urban, suburban, small town, East Coast, Midwest, South, affluent, poor, conservative, liberal. Early on he understood that Christ calls us to reconciliation with all people everywhere and that everyone is a child of God. This allowed him to make good friends with people from very diverse backgrounds. His family was deeply committed to civil rights and social justice. His father was one of a handful of clergymen representing the Pittsburgh Presbytery in Dr. King’s Selma march; his mother is a well-known parent activist for LGBTQ rights in Portland, OR. Paul credits his parents with having taught him by example that Christ calls us to live our faith, not just to profess it.
After graduating from Evanston Township High School (near Chicago), he studied filmmaking at New York University, graduating with academic and production honors. He then spent a decade working in the film industry; in distribution with Orion Classics and then in production with directors Susan Seidelman and Herbert Ross. During this time, he and his partner, Joe Silverman, founded the Free Randall Adams Campaign, a nationwide effort to free a Texas man sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. (Mr. Adams was finally exonerated and freed. His story is the subject of the Errol Morris film A THIN BLUE LINE.)
Paul then spent several years in corporate banking before moving on to work he felt had a more positive impact.
He was a volunteer mediator for child custody and visitation cases in the Manhattan Family Court, and worked to establish and support peer mediation programs in troubled Bronx middle schools. Part of his motivation in taking on conflict resolution work was the commitment he learned from his family for inclusion and reconciliation. He has always been interested in helping people get closer to one another.
Paul says he “felt called since I was knit together in my mother’s womb,” and he embraced all life as ministry in his varied secular work. “Wherever I went, wherever I worked, be it in the film industry or corporate banking, I found that everyone yearned for connection, to fellowship; to purpose; to Creation around them and to their Creator within. I relished these opportunities to connect with people who weren’t church-goers, who maybe didn’t even believe in God. I think the “Good News” is that God created you and loves you. “ When he applied to Union Theological Seminary (NYC), his grandfather’s alma mater, Paul says he felt “all my life was coming into perfect alignment.” He received a Master of Divinity, with honors.
Paul and Joe recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Their pride and joy is their five-year old daughter, Ellie. They are an interfaith family and when they lived in New York, they were active members of the First Presbyterian Church (Brooklyn) and the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (Reform).
Paul loves the deep caring that is so evident in the community at Sausalito Presbyterian Church, “the church that calls itself a family.” He was attracted by the spiritual yearning of the church, its long-time prayer and healing circle (30 years plus), the warm and friendly
atmosphere, and the congregation’s openness to learning from different religious traditions. ”This church deeply understands the role hospitality holds in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Looking back,” he said, “I see now how my family’s journey, and my own, through the church and with our commitment to justice, in a lived-out faith, and even my interfaith relationship, molded me to meet the call from Sausalito Presbyterian Church.”
We are deeply grateful that Paul – and his family – have come home to Sausalito Presbyterian Church!