The Rev. David Michael Clothier is the vicar at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Crestview, Florida. A life-long Episcopalian (what we sometimes call a “cradle Episcopalian”), Father David grew up in Trinity Episcopal Church in Mobile, Alabama, a parish where his family have been active for more than a century. In fact, both sides of his family have been active Episcopalians for many generations, going back as far as the Church of England, the mother church of the Episcopal Church.
As a boy, David regularly attended Sunday services with his family and children’s Sunday school classes. As he approached his teenage years, he began serving as an acolyte and was a member of what was then called the Episcopal Young Churchmen organization (EYC, now known as Episcopal Youth Community).
Outside of church, David was active in scouting, eventually achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Mobile County public schools, working on his high school newspaper his last two years. After high school, he entered Auburn University, where he majored in political science, with an eye towards law school.
However, rather than law, David became a journalist after graduation, starting out as a government reporter in Bay Minette, Alabama. He later worked for newspapers and magazines in the Mobile area and Florida Panhandle. In between stints in journalism, David worked in community relations, including time on the staff at Wilmer Hall Children’s Home, an agency of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.
David continued to be active at his home parish, serving at the altar as a Lay Eucharist Minister and Sacristan, leading adult Sunday school classes and chairing the Pastoral Care Committee. He also served on the vestry and Finance Committee.
In 1988, David began the four-year Education for Ministry program developed and administered by the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The program is designed to help develop lay ministry in the church. A few years after completing the program he was asked to lead the group at Trinity and was trained at Sewanee to be an EfM mentor, which he did for more than 20 years. He currently serves as the EfM Coordinator for the diocese.
Seeking further theological study, David was accepted into the graduate program at Spring Hill College in Mobile. He earned a Master of Theological Studies degree in 2012.
In 2017, after several years of discerning his call to ministry, David was selected for the inaugural class of the School for Ministry in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. His discernment process included a 12-week internship at St. Simon’s-on-the-Sound in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The diocese founded this local seminary to form ordained ministers who would serve primarily as part-time clergy for smaller congregations in the diocese.
In addition to classroom work, David was assigned to serve at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea in Coden, Alabama, for a year. He was one of eight who graduated after three years of study. He was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in June 2020 and was assigned to St. John’s Parish in Pensacola, Florida. It was there in January 2021 that he the Rt. Rev. J. Russell Kendrick, Bishop of the Central Guld Coast, ordained David a priest. On February 4, 2021, Father David began his work as vicar of the Church of the Epiphany.
Father David and his wife Catherine have known one another for almost 20 years. They were married in October 2008 at Trinity in Mobile. Both have children from previous marriages, all grown and married themselves. David’s son Richard lives in California, while Cathy’s three daughters, Alecia, Jenea and Rachel, all live in Atlanta. There are also three grandchildren in Atlanta. The family enjoys weekends and vacations at David’s and Cathy’s residence on East Bay in Santa Rosa County, Florida. The home has been in the family since Cathy’s grandmother purchased it in the 1950s.
The couple are excited about Epiphany, their new church home. Father David plans to spread God’s love, preach the Gospel and grow the church in Crestview for many years to come.