When it comes to matters of the heart and soul, one local man
could be considered a common denominator.
During the week, the Rev. Marvin Moore is a cardiac nurse at
Gateway Medical Center.
When Sunday rolls around, Moore exchanges his scrubs for
vestments in his second job as priest at All Saints Independent
Old Catholic Church at 863 Salem Road.
"Marvin is a spiritual leader with the heart of a nurse,"
said the Rev. Kevin Adamson, deacon at All Saints.
Moore is committed to caring for hurting people — in both of
his chosen professions. All Saints parishioner Lisa Dotson
considers Moore "an awesome priest."
"He has such a sense of humanity and has such a deep, deep,
deep faith in God and man. I guess that's what makes him such a
great nurse," Dotson said.
All Saints is a small parish averaging 75 to 80 people, and
Moore serves without a salary.
"You have to have another job for a paycheck," Moore said.
He and his wife, JoAnn, moved to Montgomery County almost two
years ago. He had commuted from their Lebanon home for several
months to lead church services after All Saints' former priest,
the Rev. Michael Nesmith, moved out of state.
"God dragged me kicking and screaming into the ministry,"
Growing up in Ohio, he attended a local church regularly with
his family, but Moore said he never felt comfortable in that
As a teen, he dated a young Jewish girl and often attended
synagogue with her.
"I remember the first time I went. It was so different. The
rabbi wasn't yelling from the pulpit. I liked that — he was just
talking about the Bible," Moore said.
His exposure to something different led Marvin to research
and delve into core doctrine in an attempt to define his own
His spiritual journey included visiting numerous churches and
examining several Christian denominations during his early
He definitely favored liturgical churches that followed more
traditional service formats.
"I know I always felt I was called to teach, but not to
preach, necessarily," Moore said.
While living in Lebanon, Moore found a church home at Faith
Lutheran Church for 16 years, but it wasn't permanent. After a
few years serving as director of Christian education at Faith
Lutheran, Moore felt drawn to the ministry, but he was hesitant
to step up to the pulpit.
"Eventually, I was asked to give a sermon. I could teach
Sunday school at the drop of a hat, but to give a sermon, that
was something in a different realm," Moore said.
However, he accepted the baton to give his first homily. That
inaugural sermon led to another.
"Then I gave another and another. Finally, my wife said, 'You
need to go back to seminary.' For her to tell me to go back to
school knowing what that entailed, I knew it had to be God
speaking through her to me," Moore said.
As Moore worked online toward his master's degree in theology
from the International Theological Seminary in Tampa, Fla., he
continued to search for a denomination that matched the personal
beliefs he had developed through study.
It was during his online research that Moore ran across
Nesmith's Web site for All Saints.
"I fell into the Old Catholics. So many of the churches that
I had researched seemed to have agendas and were not truly
orthodox," Moore said.
Moore contacted Nesmith and eventually consulted with three
different bishops in the Old Catholic denomination who agreed
that Moore's discernment and leaning toward Old Catholic seemed
He became an ordained priest in 2003.
It was 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War when Moore
graduated high school. He knew he was about to be drafted and
opted to enlist in the Air Force, hoping to get his job choice.
"I wanted to be a medic and they promised, so I signed up,"
The military, however, made him into a policeman.
He bid adieu to the Air Force after his enlistment and joined
the Navy for a hitch during which he did become a medic. Moore
has been nursing ever since.
"Yes, it's a fulfilling job. We can make a difference in
people's lives," Moore said.
When asked about the similarity between nursing and
preaching, he said: "Yes, there's a definite correlation."
Finding that balance between the secular and spiritual is a
constant challenge for Moore.
"I have to be careful. I can't impose my religious thinking
on a patient," said Moore, "but any time a patient invites it,
I'm glad to talk to them."
Working as a cardiac cath lab nurse at Gateway constantly
places Moore near people facing life-and-death decisions —
patients and their families.
"There have been plenty of times when I wasn't sure the
patient would make it through the procedure," Moore said.
He admits that, every so often, he chalks up patients'
survival to miracles.
Moore's nursing duties place him on call every other week,
impacting his responsibilities as a parish priest.
"I've had to cancel Wednesday night services every other week
because of my hospital schedule, but the parish knew that when
they asked me to take over for Mike," Moore said.
And they don't mind at all.
"We have learned to work around his nursing schedule. He is
very dedicated to this church, and we're blessed to have both he
and his wife," parishioner Virginia Merchant said.
"He is very responsive to community needs," parishioner Jim
"When he can't be somewhere, there are several of us who can
respond," Castruccio said. "After all, larger lay participation
is desired — and essentially that's the way it should be."