The Rev. Nathan Empsall is an Episcopal priest, the executive director of Faithful America, a leading expert and writer on Christian resistance to Christian nationalism, and a recent member of the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism. He’s visited 44 states and can’t wait to see the other six.
Rev. Nathan’s motto is “God loves you. Accept it, and spread it!” For Rev. Nathan, spreading love means focusing his ministry on social, environmental, economic, and racial justice. We love those who have been exploited or marginalized the way that Jesus loves them when we listen to them, do everything we can to amplify their voices, create space for healing, and work together to end oppression and discrimination. As the Mother of Christ sang in Luke 1, “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” Rev. Nathan affirms the equality and God-given dignity of all LGBTQ persons, and believes that no one can truthfully say all lives matter until we have achieved a society where Black lives matter.
Rev. Nathan holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (since renamed Yale School of the Environment), a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and a B.A. in government and Native American studies from Dartmouth College. Prior to seminary, he worked as an online organizer trained by President Barack Obama’s Organizing for America with a record of success at the national Sierra Club. He also served as a member of the 2008 Joe Biden for President New Hampshire Steering Committee and as a consultant for multiple humanitarian and environmental charities.
At Yale, Rev. Nathan studied religion and ecology under the field’s pioneers John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, focusing his studies and research on climate science, God’s interconnected design for all things on earth, and the challenges to implementing new creation-care ministries in Christian churches.
Within the church Rev. Nathan has served as a CPE hospital chaplain intern in Virginia, worked as a parish ministry intern with the Episcopal Service Corps in Nebraska, and interned for the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations in D.C., the Church’s United Nations staff in New York City, the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. As part of his time at the U.N., Rev. Nathan helped represent Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the 23rd United Nations climate change conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, and at the 17th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.
At Dartmouth, he was an active member in the New Hampshire College Democrats as well as multiple Episcopal and evangelical campus ministries including the Navigators Christian Fellowship, Christian Impact (the local chapter of Cru), and his home away from home for four years, “the Edge” — the Edgerton House Episcopal Campus Ministry.
Rev. Nathan is a proud native Texan who came to call Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and the gorgeous northern Rockies home, but who also maintains an appreciation for the White Mountains, Cape Cod coast, New Haven pizza, and Boston Red Sox of his more recently adopted New England. He is personally fired up by the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ; roots music (particularly Americana, neo-traditional country, and bluegrass); all thing Scottish; Native American Indian rights and sovereignty; and U.S. geography.
Rev. Nathan is extremely lucky to be married to the love of his life who is utterly brilliant, creative, and amazing. They have one toddler who is the absolute joy of her dad’s existence.