Hi, I'm Doug Bland. I'll say a little about myself for now and hope that I will have an opportunity to visit with you in person soon. Whether you are just visiting this website for the first time or are a long-time member of Community, I'd like to get to know you better.
I was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, where I learned to hike, camp and ski and developed a deep appreciation for the beauty and sacredness of God's Creation. I was raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but have a very ecumenical background. I earned my Eagle Award in scouting (Baptist), dated girls that my Mother disapproved (mostly Mormon & Catholic), graduated from The College of Idaho (Presbyterian), directed a church camp (Lutheran), and completed my seminary training at Duke (Methodist). I was pre-med in college, receiving my call to go into ministry during mid-terms of organic chemistry. (God spoke clearly, "Doug, what are you doing in this class?)
I asked Amy Bird to marry me on the Holy Isle of Iona, Scotland and we were married at Boyce Thompson Arboretum on April 27, 2008. Amy is the Administrator at Desert Marigold Waldorf School.
I have two grown children, both boys: Adam and Aaron. Aaron is a drummer for three rock bands and teaches drum lessons to 50 students each week. Adam is working in the field of forestry in Maine.
Amy's children are Olivia and Forest. Olivia is a steamstress and gardener. Forest is a talented athlete and good student.
I've been the Pastor here at Community Christian Church since 1994. These years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. I've experienced the grace of God and the love of Christian community in new and deeper ways. Together, as a congregation, we have given birth to a new congregation in Gilbert, AZ (Chalice Christian Church); remodeled our fellowship hall, offices and courtyard; and developed a unique reputation as "the storytelling church" through some unique programs that you can read about on our site. In 2003 we received the "Diversity Award" from the City of Tempe Human Relations Commission for our work promoting inter-faith, multi-ethnic storytelling concerts---"Winter's Light" and "Feast of Life." In 2009 we received the same award for our ministry to the homelss, became "open and affirming" to gay, lesbian and transgendered people, and formed a "green team" to care for God's creation.
I love to read and learn. I ran my first marathon in 2003, the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon, as a way to mark my fiftieth birthday. I enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking. I have a passion for storytelling. I am an adjunct faculty member at the Storytelling Institute at South Mountain Community College and have led workshops at Intel on how to utilize storytelling in the corporate culture. I am an environmentalist, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and a member of the Arizona Ecumenical Council Environmental Committee. I am also the Co-Director of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light, an organization that is a religious response to global climate change.
Recently, I wrote a statement of my values, vision and mission, which will tell you a little more about who I am:
- I value the interconnectedness of all life
- I value creation as an on-going process that invites participation
- I value the holy in the ordinary and humor in the mundane
- I value gratefulness
- To honor the kin-ship of all Creation
- To connect our individual stories with the larger, unifying Story of God's Love
Enough about me. Now it's your turn. Tell me your story. I'd love to hear from you.
Contact Doug Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.