Journey to Priesthood

On June 18, 2022, the Anglican Mission in America ordained and welcomed its newest priest, Tony+ Davis of Little Rock, Arkansas. A member of St. Andrew’s Church with a master’s degree in theology and active in personal evangelism and community ministry, Tony began to explore a call to the priesthood in 2018. Under the counsel and tutelage of Robert+ Cook, senior pastor of St. Andrew’s, Tony pursued this call. He was ordained a deacon in 2021, then a priest last month.

Tony explains his journey to priesthood this way:

I grew up going to church in a very small town in Arkansas. I was saved and baptized at the age of 7 and felt a calling to preach and gave my first sermon at the age of 10. Even though my parents left the church while I was still a child, I continued going to church through junior high and high school.

Even as a freshman in college, I went to church, was a member of a ministry team and served on the Campus Ministry Board. However, in the summer of my freshman year I went to a revival at the county fairgrounds with some friends and felt what Blaise Pascal (17th-century French religious philosopher) referred to as trying to fill an infinite abyss with everything but God. I responded to the altar call in tears and grabbed one of my friend’s hands to go with me at the same time the guy on the other side of him did the same thing.

Ever since July 2001 I have felt a call to vocational ministry. Yet it wasn’t until 2018 that I started to seriously pursue it. During that summer, I reached out to my good friends and a couple of colleagues, asking them to pray for me. One morning, I went outside for a walk just before sunrise. As I was walking, the struggle was intense. My doubts exploded: You are too much of a sinner to be a priest. You didn’t go to the “right” divinity school. You don’t have the right skills to be a priest, etc.

I was in intense prayer with God over these concerns, and out of nowhere, the Lord physically brought a downpour on me. I was completely drenched by this rainstorm; it was a powerful experience that I cannot truly express in words. However, my doubts were soothed, and I set up a meeting to discuss the ordination process with Robert+.

The ordination service was officiated by the Right Reverend Philip Jones, Lead Bishop of the Anglican Mission in America. Tony+ will serve as a part-time non-staff clergy member as he continues his full-time work as a teacher at a Christian prep school.

Tony+ has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science & History (2004) from Lyon College, a Master of Theological Studies (2014) from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences (2019) from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has been married to Hillary since 2007, and they have three children.

To learn more about how you can pursue ordination as a deacon or priest with the Anglican Mission in America, click here.

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