Matt Boswell has been the pastor of Camas Friends Church in Camas, WA since October 2015. This call has included responsibilities such as organizing worship gatherings, providing spiritual care, teaching and preaching, coordinating and empowering volunteers, facilitating small groups, promoting engagement in social concerns, creating and sustaining mentoring relationships, facilitating weddings (four) and memorials (also four), and nurturing his meeting’s vision of what it means to love God and others in a distinctively Christ-centered and Quaker way. Participating in the life of Camas Friends has been Matt’s first sustained engagement with Friends, despite brief “dabbling” over the years. Thus, most of his lived experience and understanding of the Quaker tradition has been lived and learned “on the job.” He has, however, been nurturing a call to ministry for some time.
Matt grew up in Woodland, WA, and attended Woodland Presbyterian Church, where he was an active leader as a teenager. During his time at George Fox University (’01-’05), Matt was a Resident Assistant in the dorms, a camp counselor and camp program director, an active worship leader, and a GFU campus ministries intern. After college, Matt was a worship pastor in Canby, OR before resuming school at George Fox Evangelical Seminary where he completed an MDiv (2009), feeling called both to academia and ministry. Matt then spent a year with Teaching Abroad (NWYM) in China (’09-10) before moving back to the U.S., marrying Joann in 2010, and teaching English in Olympia, WA for two years. He then moved to Berkeley, CA in 2012, where he completed a PhD in Christian Spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union (graduated in 2016). During his doctoral studies, Matt taught seminary and undergraduate courses in spiritual formation and social justice, worked part time at First Congregational Church of Berkeley (UCC), and welcomed three children – Clara, Renee, Teddy – into his family.
While at Camas Friends Church, Matt revised his dissertation and published it through Cascade Books (Eugene, OR) as The Way to Love: Reimagining Christian Spiritual Growth as the Hopeful Path of Virtue. This book, recently discussed by the Camas Friends weekly book discussion group, draws together ethics, theology, psychology, and spiritual practice to articulate a way of thinking about spiritual growth centered on the cultivation of Love. Matt hopes to continue writing and possibly be available for speaking and seminar-leading as space allows. Matt has organized and hosted the first two SCYMF Pastors Conferences and will be facilitating open worship at SCYMF Annual Sessions this May.
Matt is grateful for the nudges to seek recording by others who have observed his ministry – both members of Camas Friends and members and pastors of other SCYMF congregations. Matt identifies as a “progressive, Christ-centered, Quaker love mystic” and feels that his spirituality has been valued and nurtured at Camas Friends and within SCYMF as a whole.
Matt aspires to be (and hopes that he is to some degree) a pastor who is confident yet humble, independent yet collaborative, careful to hold a welcoming space for diverse spiritualities yet authentic in self-expression, hospitable yet challenging, kind and gentle yet courageous and prophetic. Matt desires to continue to grow in these areas and believes he can help Camas Friends continue to move, evolve, and grow in its concrete expression of love for God and neighbor.