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Jun 07, 2017

Austin Priest Awarded ECF Grant to Expand Veterans Ministry

The Rev. David Peters, associate rector at St. Mark’s, Austin is one of five 2017 Fellows named recently by the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF). Others include: Jennifer Adams-Massmann, Stewart Clem, Ashley Graham-Wilcox and Renee McKenzie-Hayward.

Peters will now be able to share his work with veterans across the Church with funding from the fellowship. Other Fellows’ programs address the value of truth-telling in an age of fake news, developing an understanding of congregational life through the lens of trauma, strengthening veterans’ ministries, researching the role of women in ecumenical history, and expanding key Episcopal institutions’ access to and interest in a more diverse Church.

“I wrote the grant so I could travel to parishes that have a limited budget to bring people in to speak,” Peters said, adding, “This fellowship will expand veterans ministry in churches across the country and I'll be setting up a travel schedule in August. I'm thankful that this missional ministry that started here in the Diocese of Texas will be shared with the wider Church.” 

Peters enlisted in the Marine Corps in his teens, finished college and seminary, and went to work as a youth minister in a suburban church in Pennsylvania. Shortly after 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain and deployed to Iraq in 2005. After Iraq, Peters served in the the amputee and psych wards of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. These experiences in war and the trials of homecoming led him to start the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship in the Diocese of Texas in 2014. The EVF equips the Church for ministry to veterans with moral injury and the spiritual and theological affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The ECF grant will enable Peters to travel across the Church to nurture existing veterans ministries and coach parishes and dioceses as they start new ones.

Peters is a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest and the author of two books on war and reconciliation. His most recent is Post-Traumatic God, published by Church Publishing in 2016. An engaging preacher, his 9/11 sermon, “Learning War and Reconciliation,” won the Reconciliation Preaching Prize from Trinity, Wall Street in 2015.

“The Fellowship Partners Program embodies ECF’s vision for the future of the Church, fostering theological formation and ministerial leadership, while supporting innovative scholars and leaders as they bring their passionate vision to life,” said ECF President Donald Romanik.

If you would like David to come to your parish or diocese to share the work of EVF, please contact him at

The Fellowship Partners Program is ECF’s longest running program and has supported emerging scholars and ministry leaders across the Episcopal Church for more than fifty years. Established in 1964 to identify academicians who intended to teach in seminary classrooms, the program continues to support emerging scholars and ministry leaders who have a passion for forming the next generation of leaders in the Episcopal Church. A full list of past recipients is available here.