Ben first wrestled a bear when he was only four years old. Bear wrestling has been his passion ever since. In a perfect world, this is how his story would begin. In reality, Ben was born and raised in Downey where, contrary to popular opinion, no bears reside.
From Downey, he moved to La Mirada where he earned a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Biola University graduating with honors in 2007. After college, he decided to continue his education in Pasadena at Fuller Theological Seminary where he meandered his way to an M.A. in Theology in 2012. His final two years of seminary were shared with two years of teaching high school English in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. After returning to the states, he settled in Long Beach, where he spent five years serving in various capacities at Belmont Heights UMC. By the end of his tenure in Long Beach, Ben was the Director of Community Ministries for Belmont Heights UMC where his ministry focused on youth spirituality, social/eco/economic justice, adult theological education, and interfaith community service.
Having been commissioned in June 2017 as a provisional elder in the UMC, Ben was appointed to serve as Associate Pastor at First UMC of Escondido where he currently working with the whole community of faith to explore the ways in which God is calling us to deeper levels of connection, discipleship, and ministry. His work focuses on those in the first half of life (children, young families, youth, and young adults). And, since Ben always needs more to do, he is also currently working to complete his Doctor of Ministry at Claremont School of Theology. His research focuses on the intersection of ecology and ecclesiology.
Ben has many passions including but not limited to: theology, Steinbeck, travel, sports, aesthetics, reading, film, and learning. Ben shares his evenings with his wife and co-minister Diana and his beautiful and energetic kiddos, Harold and Luz, who are ages 5 and 3, respectively.