Rev. Michael East, Pastor
A native of Oklahoma, Michael grew up in Sapulpa. With a Roman Catholic mother and Presbyterian father, Michael attended two worship services each Sunday. Curious why his father could not take communion at the Catholic service, Michael came to see the significance of an open table, and began to feel more at home in the Presbyterian church.
He attended Catholic schools until matriculating to Austin College, a Presbyterian liberal arts college in Sherman, Texas. During his undergraduate years, he served as co-chair of the Youth Council in the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, and worked summers at Dwight Mission Camp, where he met his wife, Katie. She is from Edmond, and earned her degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Before entering Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Michael served as an intern with Connecting Point Presbyterian Church in OKC, guiding the congregation from “internal survival to external service.” He attended the 219th and 220th Presbyterian General Assemblies, elected as co-moderator of the Young Adult Caucus in Minneapolis and serving in Pittsburgh as a member of the Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century.
His father died unexpectedly during Michael’s time at seminary, severely testing his faith. He kept going, sharpening his focus on the scriptures and developing his talent for preaching. He persevered in academics and leadership, serving as a student senator elected by his peers and as a Teaching Assistant during his senior year.
Michael was ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in 2014, and was called to Forest Lake Presbyterian Church near the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
As a pastor, Michael says he has come to recognize the importance of strategic visioning and congregational hope. “I see places where Christ is at work doing a new thing. As we enter a new chapter in the Church’s story, our ability to see the new ways Christ is working in the world will be of great importance.”
He says he feels “called to serve a congregation that is willing to have challenging conversations and address real problems in the world, and one that works to continually improve its own ministry in order to be faithful to Christ.”
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas
Master of Divinity, 2014
Austin College, Sherman Texas
Bachelor of Arts, 2010