Let me introduce and welcome our preacher of the morning, Reverend Dr. Phil Button. Phil has been a good friend and a great theological conversationalist to me over the past five years. Along with his wife Jane, Phil has connected to the movement here at Royal Oak First and can be found worshipping most Sundays at our 11:00 service.
Phil and Jane are natives of Kewanee, Illinois. Jane was one year ahead of Phil in school and because she was his sister’s best friend, he never thought that she would ever want to even talk to him. Well, they began dating in 1957, were engaged a month later and were married in December of 1958. Today we celebrate 60 years of committed partnership and covenantal love with the Buttons.
Phil attended Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC where he received his Master of Divinity. He was certified a chaplain in the then Methodist Episcopal Church and served local congregations in Illinois. Phil felt God calling him beyond ministry in the local church and so enrolled in the University of Illinois where he received a second masters in special education. God used Phil’s passion for education and ministry to call both Jane and he to serve in prison ministry for the bulk for their professional lives. Phil and Jane saw Gods work in some powerful ways among the inmates they had the privilege to meet and share their ministry with. In 2011, Phil went back to school at Memphis Theological Seminary where in earned his Doctorate of Ministry with a special emphasis on the pastoral care needs of LGBT families.
Phil and Jane, along with their dogs, Kodiak and Lexi, live at Beaumont Commons in Dearborn where I have had the pleasure of visiting them over the years. It is a real joy to watch Phil spread God’s love to all the residents of their community, checking on their blessing and reminding them that they are loved. He is like the resident chaplain and local mayor all wrapped into one!
We welcome Pastor Phil and look forward to the word he will bring us today.
Grace and Peace,