Rev. Goodwin began with his usual question: "how would loved ones describe you?"
"I feel like you'd get different answers depending on who you asked," said Rev. Shea Will.
He continued by stating that others would describe him as high energy and someone who loved to bring people together. He also shared that many don't think of him as a typical clergy person.
"I definitely know my friends who aren't clergy would say, I'm definitely the most surprising clergy person," he said, sharing also that someone recently guessed he was a crane operator.
Rev. Goodwin pointed out a welcome sign in the background of Rev. Shea Will's video screen, and asked how he had been welcomed.
Rev. Shea Will said he had an early experience that welcomed him into a relationship with God, Jesus, and other Christians, and that feeling of welcome never left, even as circumstances changed.
"When I came out as gay, that welcome sort of shifted, got qualified a little bit. I still never escaped the feeling of being welcomed in this way. And part of that's because, you know, God never stopped welcoming me. Period."
The Reverend explained that his relationship with God in not complicated.
"My first relationship is not with scripture, right? Scripture is the living Testament. That supplements my relationship with the living God, which comes first and foremost, which I knew and met in church way before I ever picked up or owned a Bible."
While discussing some of the differences in how New Englanders worship and practice their faith versus churches from other parts of the country, Rev. Shea Will said he doesn't get uncomfortable with different settings.
"You can drop me in anywhere and I'll worship," he said.
He then spoke about his own ministry and the new path the Southern New England Conference is taking. He said what the conference is trying to do requires people to do some "stretching" and ask themselves where their comfort place it. The new thing is something we are doing together.
"That implies a shared sense of responsibility to learn about and understand each other, and not impose some sort of way of being or thinking or doing," he said.
As they wrapped up the interview, Rev. Goodwin asked Rev. Shea Will who Jesus is to him. Here is how he responded:
"Jesus is the one who showed me that being authentically myself and living a life that is oriented towards loving the heck out of this world and of God is going to do a whole lot more good than any other complicated pattern or plan that I could drop on my own."
You can watch the full interview between Rev. Goodwin and Rev. Shea Will below.
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...