Educated at: Lampeter-Strasburg High School, Millersville University (bachelor of science), United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg (master of divinity)
Family: My mother and older sister both live in Lancaster, along with my two nieces
Job: Associate pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gettysburg.
Job’s reward: Relationships. The Christ Lutheran congregation is a wonderful community with a rich history. They love God, one another, and are always eager to serve their neighbors. As a pastor, I have the honor of serving them and the Gettysburg community at large. I enjoy the small-town feel with all the friendly faces. Everyone I meet who is willing to go out of their way to help one another.
Job’s frustrations: I love my work and at the moment cannot think of any frustrations.
Very first job was: My father worked in construction but also would landscape on weekday nights and Saturday mornings. When I was little, he would always bring me along to help him in these projects. My first official job was Burger King.
Favorite food: Cheesesteak sandwich.
Pets: I currently do not have any pets but maybe someday.
Hero: My friend and mentor Charlie Roberts. Charlie is the director of resources and Faith Formation for children, youth, young adults, and their families for the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Charlie has been a role model teaching me the ins and outs of ministry.
Hobbies: Cooking, exercising, and reading
Pet peeves: When people forget to use their turn signals while driving.
Collects: Books. As a pastor, I have many, many, many books.
Best friend: Elizabeth Peter
Would like to have witnessed what event in history: I would have liked to have witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. It was such a significant moment in the life of our country, casting a vision that our nation is still trying to realize. I hope that one day we will.
Event that changed your life: My father’s diagnosis of cancer and later death. My father, Douglas Eckman, was diagnosed with cancer during the spring of 2002. In many ways, this disease dictated my family’s life until his death several years later. My experience with his suffering and death was a significant influence on why I wanted to become a pastor as it was the church that embodied the love of God to us during that difficult time.
Scariest moment: When I was around eight years old I was in an inner tube at the beach out in the water with my grandmother. It was windy with rough waves. So rough that the undercurrent pulled me from my grandmother’s grip taking me miles out into the sea. Eventually, a team of lifeguards sent a boat to pick me up to bring me back to shore. I remember thinking Jaws or a giant octopus might come to the surface to eat me.
First memory: My childhood bedroom with sunlight laying on a wooden rocking chair.
Trait inherited from parents: A trait I inherited from my parents is punctuality. My mom always said, “To arrive on time is late and to arrive fifteen minutes before is on time.”
Piece of advice that you live by: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. So be kind.
Who needs a hug? Everyone needs a hug once in a while.
Favorite reading/author: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Favorite spot on earth: Camp Nawakwa in Biglerville
Would like concert tickets to see: U2
One bad habit: I’m not sure if I would consider this a bad habit, but I am often told that I drink too much coffee. Luckily, there are several great coffee shops in Gettysburg. The Ragged Edge, Eighty-Two, The Ugly Mug, and Waldos & Company are some of my favorite places to get my caffeine fix.
3 items on your bucket list: Travel to Germany, write a book, and earn another degree.
Five minutes with: I would have loved to have five minutes with Mr. Rogers. I grew up watching him as a child and always appreciated the wisdom he shared with the world.
What skill or lesson would you like to learn? I use to draw and paint in my early 20s and would like to learn those skills again.
What would people find surprising about you? I do not like avocados.
What would make this world a better place? If we could learn to confess the wrongs we have done and work towards forgiving others.
What is the best piece of news you received lately that you would like to share?
Actually, I have news to share instead of just receiving it. I’m engaged!
How would you like to be remembered? I want to be remembered as someone who put my faith into practice, who was motivated by God’s love, and how my hope in Jesus Christ was firm.