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Tony has known from the age of seven that he wanted to be a preacher. He studied theology first at Southern University of Seventh Day Adventists where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Theology in 1987. Four years later he obtained a Masters of Divinity from Andrews university of Seventh Day Adventists. In 2008, Tony earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. ?He served as youth pastor, full-time pastor, and professor of religion in churches and a college associated with Seventh Day Adventists from 1987 to 2005. Over time, however, Tony questioned the validity of his religious community. This study showed him that his beliefs made a better fit with those of the United Church of Christ. He "was surprised and pleased to learn and experience the freedom the UCC permits for pastors and those in the pews. The motto, 'God is still speaking,' resonates strongly with me. To be free to explore where my mind and the Spirit leads and actually have that valued by a community is refreshing. Yet I also recognize the importance of allowing others the same freedom. Therefore, I operate from the premise expose but not impose." Tony and his wife Karen have two adult daughters.  One lives in San Diego and the other in Lincoln, Nebraska. tominear@beatitudeschurch.org  

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