The SHORT story: Rev. Dr. Michael Petrow has completed degrees in religion, psychology and mythology, and has worked as a youth pastor, an in home counselor with troubled youth, a theater chaplain, a spiritual director, a teaching pastor, and a denim specialist. He's lived in the Lehigh valley PA, in New York City, and Santa Barbara Ca. He likes God, Dogs, good conversation, and good people. He is PASSIONATE about how sacred stories teach us how to live our own story, and he leads PARABLE in collaboration with the rest of its members. He WOULD love to meet you and know what’s going on in your story.
Rev. Will Joseph, M.Div.
Will Joseph loves seeing people accomplish their personal missions, and does his part to help by training and supporting entrepreneurs and faith leaders. He started in the corporate world creating employee training programs and operational systems for McAlister’s Deli and Burger King. He later moved to International Xchange Organization and Redeemer City to City to help support hundreds of church planters in Asia and around the world. In 2012, he co-founded his first business, Wee Care Diaper Service. Since then he has served as Executive Pastor for The Mission Chattanooga, co-planted the Red Bank Chapel, and co-founded The Meeting House, The Chattanooga Fellows Program, and Mission Studio.
Will currently works full time with CO.STARTERS and enjoys working to support startup communities around the world. Will lives with his wife and two boys in Chattanooga, TN.
Rev. Michael Landsman, M.Div.
Mike Landsman has worked as an executive Pastor, the director of LOGOS Bible school, and is presently the interim pastor of Zion's Stone United Church of Christ in Northampton, PA. He's a graduate of Rhema Bible School (South Africa), and Biblical Theological Seminary. He is the happy husband to Chontey and father to their newborn son Isaac. He is the co-host of the Aeropagus podcast which discusses historical Christianity in dialogue with more contemporary expressions. You can listen here: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/areopagus/introducing_the_areopagus
Kristy Christian Petrow
Kristy is the mother of Josiah and the wife of Michael. A graduate of Penn State, Kristy has worked as a teacher, a server, a tour guide and nanny, has completed CPE in the Chaplaincy program at St. Luke’s Hospital, and is presently a student at Moravian Theological Seminary and a Spiritual Director under supervision. Kristy loves helping people heal, and experience the safety to be themselves in all their own beauty and goodness. She will either make you laugh or cry, or both. Kristy leads PARABLE’s Sunday worship.
Sharon is mother of four wonderful children. Along with her husband Marc, Sharon has been involved with Parable from its very beginning, sits on our discernment committee and represents the Elders on Parable’s Board. More info on Sharon coming soon...
Pastor Eric Schwartz
Pastor Eric has a passion to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Eric has worked as a youth pastor, young adult pastor, and discipleship ministries pastor at House on the Rock Family Church for 7.5 years before obeying God’s call to plant a church. He is also a graduate of Moravian College with a B.A. in religion, and is also currently enrolled in Moravian Theological Seminary, pursuing a Master’s in Theological Studies. Pastor Eric’s desire is for all people to come to know their Creator in an intimate and authentic way. Pastor Eric and his wife Maria have been married for over 13 years and have 2 beautiful daughters, Alaina and Carina. His sermons can be heard here: http://www.thegatecc.com/category/podcasts/
Maria Colonna Schwartz
Maria Schwartz is a mother of two beautiful and captivating daughters, wife of a Star Wars nerd and bivocational pastor with an affinity for Apple products, and an appreciator of details and organization. She is a "cup half full" kind of girl who strives to fill others with value, love, and encouragement. When she isn't working at her day job surrounded by numbers and balance sheets, Maria loves to create various works of art and explore thoughts by playing with words. You can read her blog here: https://www.reflectionsofashe.com/
Rev. Dr. Michael Petrow
The LONG story: Mike grew up in a family of church planters, and after getting his first degree in Religion from Moravian College he absolutely loved working his first position in ministry as a youth pastor from 2000-2005. He has also worked as an in home counselor with troubled youth, (and folded jeans and waited tables and washed dishes). From 2007-2009 he worked as the Pastor of a spiritual community operating a theater space in the Times Square Arts Center in NY, NY, and conducted spiritual direction with an interesting cast of characters of various faiths, ethnicities, and orientations. (He also enjoyed working for a Korean church in Queens at the time!)
After taking classes focusing on the integration of psychology and spirituality at several seminaries and institutes, Mike moved to Santa Barbara Ca to pursue graduate degrees in psychology and mythological studies focusing on world religions and the big stories that influence culture. Mike concluded earning his Ph.D. by writing his dissertation The Redemption of Perspective: Reading the Books of the Soul with Origen of Alexandria. Using Jungian psychology and the works of the early Christian teacher Origen, Dr. Mike explored how we read the sacred stories in scripture in order to learn to read our own lives as sacred stories co-authored with God.
Nonetheless Mike claims the greatest educational experience he’s ever had—and the deepest spiritual experiences—came with navigating the death of his brother and mother in 2008. Losing those so close to him helped him to more deeply experience the love that lasts beyond life and death.
From 2012 to 2016 Pastor Mike worked as a Teaching Pastor with the Pennsylvania church that his family originally planted in 1989, during which time he was able to explore all his favorite Biblical characters in depth—Jonah Jacob, Joseph and Job. (Those sermons can be found on our podcast and youtube channel).
In 2012 Mike also sharpened his spiritual direction skills by enrolling in The Guild for Spiritual Guidance which he graduated from in 2014. He now teaches for the Guild and is presently attending The Living School run out of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque New Mexico.
In 2017 Mike formed PARABLE with a group of spiritual seekers who have chosen to meet weekly and collectively discern what might emerge from their community.
Mike has studied, worked, and worshiped with Pentecostal, Evangelical, Reformed, Moravian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christians, (as well as dialoguing extensively with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Humanists etc.) He attempts to draw from as wide and deep an understanding of the Christian Church as possible.
Mike’s interests include hiking, Mt biking, very good coffee, food, beer, and wine, stimulating conversation, laughing, movies (he would communicate only in movie references if possible), travel to sacred places, BOOKS!!, the study of world religions and literature, the psychology of Viktor Frankl and Carl Jung, the writing of Joseph Campbell, but most especially the study of scripture, the insights of the ancient church, the practice of contemplative Christianity, and the storied persecuted church of the East. His wife Kristy is his favorite person (and a much better person than he is), his son Josiah is his favorite kid, his chug dogs are pretty much all that gets into his Instagram feed. He does NOT like writing about himself in the third person.