Ian Lawton was ordained as an Anglican Priest in Sydney, Australia, in 1994. Sydney is one of the most conservative Anglican dioceses in the world. He never fit into that church culture, as he was always more interested in connecting with the people who don’t go to church; the homeless people, the broken people, the creative people, the liberated people, the recovering people, the inquiring people, the family people, those who put their humanity before their ideology. These were Ian’s people. He met them in pubs and on university campuses, in gyms and at school picnics. He stood alongside them at protests and bar lines. He just didn’t see them in church. Ian worked on Sydney’s inner city streets and saw the reality of human suffering first hand. He sought a spirituality that made a difference in people’s lives. Ian went on to complete a second degree in sociology. In 2000, Ian left Sydney to become the Vicar of St. Matthew in the City. Ian had four great years at St Matthews; a never-dull, gothic, white stone building in the shadows of the towering casino. His world opened up during these years as he was exposed to Maori language and culture, mixed with a stimulating community; and launched an online progressive network. Bishop John Shelby Spong then convinced Ian to come to the United States to lead an emerging group of progressive Christians at a church now known as C3 Exchange (formerly Christ Community Church) in West Michigan (of all the most unlikely places). Today Ian calls Grand Haven, Michigan home where he lives with his wife Meg and three children Hugo, Darcy and Raina. In addition to Christianity, Ian also practices meditation and actively trains in Zen which has helped to remove any tendency to divide the world up into good and bad, holy and profane.
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