TMI welcomes The Rev. Dr. Benjamin H. Nelson III as Head Chaplain, beginning July 19. Fr. Ben is a lifelong Episcopalian, has been ordained for almost 19 years, and most recently served as the 39th rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Marcos. As a parish priest, he has served congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, East Tennessee and Hawaii.
Fr. Ben’s passions in ministry are working with children and youth, leadership development, healing and recovery from addictive illness, and the ever-deepening spirituality of generosity in our lives. He has served on advisory boards for several local outreach agencies and as a consultant for congregations wishing to deepen their life of generosity, leadership, and stewardship. Fr. Ben’s first joy is serving God, and the people of God, and he likes to imagine his overall title as “Grace Enthusiast” – a role that he hopes to live up to every day of his life and is grateful to bring to TMI.
Fr. Ben grew up in the Mississippi Delta where good bar-b-que and great blues were a part of the culture. His faith, his regard for story-telling, and his love of music, were all shaped in the flatlands of this culturally-rich part of the Magnolia State. He graduated cum laude with a BA in history from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and began the journey toward ordination shortly after graduation. He graduated with his Masters of Divinity in 2002 from the University of the South School of Theology. In 2013, Fr. Ben graduated again from the School of Theology with a Doctor of Ministry degree. His Thesis, “Spirit of Water, Spirit of Aloha,” combined an experience with creation, delight in the waters of baptism, and a love for Hawaiian cultural values.
Fr. Ben and his wife, Linda, will move to campus this summer along with their daughter, Cooper, who is a future Panther and rising TMI 8th grader, and their two four-legged friends, Mickey and Hercules. Fr. Ben loves running, biking, or any activity that allows him to be outside or around water, and he is excited to be joining the TMI community.
“I am thrilled to join the amazing people of the TMI community in serving God and finding our call together as lifelong learners. What a joy for me to be a part of such a wonderfully loving, ever-evolving, dynamic place. As we grow in Grace together, I can’t wait to see what is in store for us as students, teachers, and friends. I’m so grateful to walk this Way of Love together in the next part of life’s adventure! It’s a great day to be a TMI Panther!”