WHO IS THIS INSPIRING CI ALUMNUS?
Mark H. Newhouse, (Morrow, 2000)
Do you ever doubt you made a difference? Please send me the names and success stories (educational, career, family, etc.) of your former students for a future column so we may honor all CI alumni who serve as affirmation that we must be doing something right. It is high time to ‘shout’ out pride in our great alumni, role models for Central Islip students today. Please include name, maiden name, graduation date, email address, and a 50 word or less description of an accomplishment. I will be happy to include them in a long list of Central Islip family members.
SPECIAL FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON: From Naval Officer to Reverand
Keith A. Spencer grew up in Central Islip, his parents buying into the then under construction Levitt neighborhood that would become Islandia. He attended A.T. Morrow Elementary School, Mulligan Junior High School, and Central Islip High School from which he graduated in 1983.
Keith then attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was a frequent contributor to the school’s literary and humor magazines and participated in drama and Glee Club, serving as producer of the Naval Academy’s 1987 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore his senior year. Keith graduated with merit and received his Bachelor of Science in English degree in 1987 and was commissioned an ensign.
In 1989, Keith married his college sweetheart, Piper, who spent the bulk of her naval career as a meteorologist. During his six and a half years of commissioned service, Keith served as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer on board the USS Pharris, a naval frigate, and as the Community and Political Liaison for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, on the island of Guam where he and his family experienced typhoons and an 8.2 earthquake, as well as the birth of their first child.
Having more fun in church than doing anything else, Keith left the naval service and entered seminary after a couple of years of enjoying life as a house dad for their growing family while Piper completed her service. In 2000, Keith graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and received a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Pembroke Pines, Florida where he continues to serve to this day.
Keenly interested in faith and spirituality, Keith completed a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia in 2008 with a thesis on the use of outdoor sacred space in theological spiritual formation. Continuing to write, Keith maintains a BLOG that combines his love of outdoor nature photography with spiritual reflection at http://thelivinggospel.blogspot.com. His other passions include developing cross-generational worship, family faith formation and Sunday school, bread baking and butterfly gardening. He is married to the former Piper Anne Smith of Decatur, Georgia and together they have three boys, Christian, Thomas, and Luke and an assortment of cats, dogs and fish.
Keith is a fine example of a CI Alumni who is devoting his life to helping others. Whether it is through his ministry or his striking nature photography, his passion for others shines through. I am proud to have been one of his teachers and honored to share his life story with you. We do make a difference. Thanks Keith for sharing your story.