Clergy of Christ Church Waco
The Rev. Canon Robert L. Young, SSC
Father Young was born in Smith Center, Kansas in 1950. After his family moved to Oregon he attended Sunday School and services in a denomination that, at that time, was known for the excellence of its preaching and emphasis on sound interpretation of Holy Scripture. In his early teens some neighbors invited him to visit their Episcopal congregation when the Bishop of Oregon was coming. He accepted and was profoundly moved by the service. Its beauty, obvious continuity with early Christianity, and the biblical references in the prayers left him thinking: “I am an X but God is an Episcopalian.”
In college at the University of Oregon he became dissatisfied with his churches political agenda and decided to give the Episcopal Church another try. After graduating he was commissioned an Army officer and went to Ft. Benning, Georgia for additional military schooling and started attending St. Mary Magdelene’s Church near the post. He was highly impressed by the fact that in south Georgia in 1972 black and white people drank from the same Cup at Holy Communion. He concluded that these were people who did not talk about racial harmony but did practice it.
He had many questions and decided that he wanted to know more, so he asked for books from the parish vicar. The more he read the more convinced he became that in the Episcopal Church he had found the combination of traditional worship, biblical emphasis, and commitment to Christian morality and service he sought.
He was assigned to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and began membership instruction. After Baptism and Confirmation, he was trained as a Lay Reader and conducted modified Morning Prayer services at a local nursing facility. He was assigned to South Korea in 1975-1976 where he became aware of how much receiving Communion meant to him and discussed this with an Army chaplain who suggested that he consider ordination instead when his commitment was complete instead of making the Army career as he had planned.
He left the active Army in 1976 and entered the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin in 1977. After graduation he was ordained a deacon and priest in the Diocese of Oregon. He served an internship at Good Samaritan Episcopal Hospital in Portland until he became Curate (assistant priest) at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Beaverton. Later that week the Rector resigned, so he became effectively priest-in-charge of a large parish at the beginning of his first year in the priesthood for nine months until a new Rector could be elected. He eventually became the Interim Rector of St. Luke’s in Grants Pass, Oregon and the Rector of Churches in Tampa, Florida and Grand Prairie, Texas.
Afterward, he resigned his Army Reserve commissioned and joined the Navy Reserve as a Chaplain on the same day. He eventually served 30 years with the Navy including recalled to active duty for tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa until his retirement in 2011 from the Navy and the Church.
After retirement he received his second masters degree in Social Work and became a part-time staff member at St. Laurence Church in Southlake. In 2022 the Bishop of Fort Worth asked him to become the Interim Rector of Christ Church and he is serving in that capacity until the Vestry elects a new Rector. He enjoys the challenge of Interim Ministry and is delighted with the responsiveness of Christ Church’s congregation to his leadership and commitment to Jesus Christ.
Father Young’s wife of 45 years, Liz, if a Retirement Specialist for Northwestern Mutual in Irving. They have a daughter, Andrea, who is a Social Worker for the Veterans Administration in San Francisco, and is married to Dr. Bryan Vanderlugt, an Immunology Researcher. The Youngs have twin grandchildren, William and Annelise, age 15.
Fr. Jonathan Kanary, Ph.D.
Associate Priest and Scholar in Residence for Brazos Fellows
Father Jonathan first learned to love Jesus and His Church as a Methodist preacher's kid in small-town Oklahoma. He studied literature at Patrick Henry College, where his desire for a more historically rooted and sacramental faith led him into the Anglican tradition. He eventually discerned a call to the priesthood and attended Nashotah House Theological Seminary, where he earned the Master of Divinity, and later a Master of Sacred Theology. After serving for several years as a full-time priest at Saint Columba Church in Fresno, CA, he came to Waco in 2015 to pursue doctoral studies. In 2021, he completed a PhD in English with a concentration in Religion and Literature at Baylor University, where he continues to teach part-time.
Father Jonathan is passionate about seeing people grow and thrive in their journey with Jesus. His ministry at Christ Church over the years has included a special emphasis on spiritual direction and confession. He also regularly preaches and serves at the altar, seeking always to help the whole body of Christ’s people “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” As a member of the Liturgy Task Force for the Anglican Church in North America, he contributed significantly to the Book of Common Prayer 2019. And he has been involved with Brazos Fellows since its founding, as a guest lecturer, tutor, spiritual director, and (since 2021) Scholar in Residence.
All of this keeps him pretty busy, but Father Jonathan still finds time for hobbies: gathering around a dinner-table with friends, reading children’s books aloud (mostly to adults), strumming a guitar, or cultivating his swing-dancing skills.
If you ever wonder whether Fr. Jonathan wants a hug or a cup of hot tea, the answer is almost certainly “yes.”