June 6, 2017

BY: VICAR Bill Hartley

All right, Vicar Matt … ya got me! I guess I’m “it”!

REAL LIFE? That reminds me of that verse in 1 Timothy 6:19 where Paul refers to “the life that is truly life” – the one kept in heaven for us, and will be revealed when Christ returns (Col. 3:1-4). Now, that’s livin’!

But, since “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined” what that Real Life is going to be like, I’m happy to fill you in on some of the idiosyncrasies of life on this plane … 


Those of you who know Karen know that, well … I married up. WAY up. She loves the Lord deeply, is brilliant, beautiful and accomplished. She is the main feature of my life, and I love being with her as often as possible. Do you know that Karen works in the church office, and produces the PowerPoint presentations for all Sunday services, La Mesa, and other special services? We both feel very blessed to serve at Christ’s Greenfield.


We have two fabulous daughters. Camille (23) recently graduated from NAU with a degree in Choral Music Direction, and has her eyes set on being a high school choir director and voice teacher. Evelyn (19) just finished her AA at CGCC, and is considering her options. Both our daughters sing like angels, and swing dance like nobody’s business! Their hectic schedules leave little room for all-family get-togethers, but, when they can happen, they’re the best moments of our week. Our other “girl” is Ella, our Black Lab/Border Collie mix.


Both Karen and I are native Californians … and our families are still there. My mother, Nancy Hartley, lives in Paso Robles, California. My father, Gene Hartley, passed away in 2005. He flew B-24s in WWII, and was a high school principal in California for most of his career. He was an actor/vocalist, and my mother was a symphony violinist … so music certainly runs in the family.

Karen’s parents, Roland and Arlene Lawrence, have lived on a raisin ranch in Fresno, California their entire 53 years of married life. We’ve had Thanksgiving dinner in Fresno every year for the past 20 years – featuring Arlene’s magnificent ravioli! (Yes, she’s Italian!)


Our favorite pastime is spending time with people. We enjoy our Journey Group on Monday nights, and love getting together with friends for a meal.

Meals, yes… like Matt and Michelle, we love to eat! Our favorite night together is either a wonderful dinner at home prepared by my foodie wife, or a meal at a creative restaurant.


Currently, Karen is reading East of Eden by Steinbeck (for the second time).

I’m reading a pile of theology books assigned to me as part of my colloquy program. My current tome is Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians – wonderful! Karen and I both love the scriptures, and spend time reading lectionary texts every morning. Favorite personal reads: Anything about Church History; Martin Luther; Robert E. Webber; Mark A. Noll; Eugene Peterson.


TV is not a huge part of our lives, and we hardly ever go to movies. When we do watch TV, Karen enjoys cooking shows, and old movies on TCM. As for me, I follow sports. Oh, and we did get hooked on Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, and Grantchester. And I’m an old Monty Python junkie. Something about the Brits, I guess.

Music: I’m a sucker for old contemporary Christian music from the late 70s, early 80s. My Spotify is dominated by Bruce Cockburn, Mark Heard, U2, classic jazz, and old CCM.  


My hometown is Santa Barbara, CA… was baptized on June 30, 1974… was a toy soldier in the Disneyland Christmas parade… BA Westmont, MA Wheaton… toured Australia with a Christian rock band… served as a senior pastor in California, Arizona and The Netherlands… have taught at Phoenix Seminary, Grand Canyon University, and Saints Bible Institute in Italy… have traveled to 27 countries… 


I have been in church ministry of over 20 years, but am new to the LCMS. I applied to what’s called the “Colloquy” program, which allows pastors from other traditions to work through a specialized program of study in order to be approved for ordination. This will include an intensive class at Concordia St. Louis this summer. My program will last until next Easter. What happens then? God only knows! The harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us.

During this year, I am a part-time staff member at Christ’s Greenfield. I make my living in the field of international education, where I represent college study abroad programs to stateside colleges and universities. So, I travel a lot, mostly on weekdays, which leaves me free to serve on Sundays at church.


Well, blame Vicar Matt … he tagged me! Seriously, I look forward to getting to know about the real lives of many of you in the months ahead. I’m always open to a cup of coffee (or a run to Rubio’s!), so don’t hesitate to drop me a line at if you’d like to get together and swap stories.

Okay, my turn to tag someone? How about … DCE Annie Tiberg! Inquiring minds want to know!

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