y name is Father Larry Hart, I am a former Dominican friar (Anglican Order of Preachers), a priest in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, pastoral counselor and, spiritual director.
My wife Brenda and I live in Encinitas (San Diego), with Jack, our Queensland/Catahoula mix, and serve Saint Augustine’s Community of the Awakening Heart in nearby Carlsbad. I did my undergraduate work at West Texas State University where I earned the Bachelor of Science in Speech. I hold a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of Santa Clara, a Master of Arts in Religion from Pepperdine University, a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry with a Pastoral Care emphasis from Fuller Theological Seminary. My dissertation was on Counseling Through Expository Preaching. Much later I completed the Anglican Studies Program at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. I am a Professional Affiliate with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International.
I list these credentials because most people want to know about such things – they want to know that I have served for many years now as a pastor and priest, as a school teacher for a short time (including work with juvenile offenders), or that for a number of years I was a psychotherapist while pastoring a church. But I have also worked as a janitor, and a peach picker. I have hoed and picked cotton, and packed grapes. The reality is that I am a very simple priest – and with that I am content.
Although my educational and professional experiences have been important in shaping my life, it is my family that has played the greater part in forming who I have become. Even as a child, family history was important to me, and I value my ancestry – English, Irish, and Black Dutch.
I grew up believing, as this site once indicated, that, the Choctaw and Cree people were an important part of my heritage. However, a DNA report found no Native American links. The report did confirm my Black Dutch ancestry – which explains all the beautiful dark skinned, black haired, deep brown-eyed people in my family. So I am sad to have to amend my biography, but I am ever so grateful that all my life I have been surrounded by the
love of family. By my widowed mother who taught me the meaning of courage and compassion, and to love God and respect Scripture, by my two older sisters who were generous and encouraging, and by my fierce and eccentric older brother. My life has been so incredibly graced by Brenda, the love of my life, and by our two children, and now wonderful children-in-law, and the four grand children who bring such deep joy and satisfaction to my life. As I write this, and think about all of them, it makes me smile. For me marriage and family has been a way to God.
What I am trying to do with my life is very simple. I am trying to lean out like a crewmember on a sailing boat, adding my weight to the rest of the crew leaning out over the edge as the boat heels – leaning out in order to counter the pressure of the wind by shifting the center of gravity. I hope that my little bit of weight added to that of others will help to counter the pressure of superficiality exerted on the church, and will help counter the force of injustice on the human community – will shift the center of gravity toward an experience of the great mystery of Christian faith.