Vicar Jason M. Mills, CTICS(SS/IW), USN, Ret., is a native of Grand Ledge, Michigan and had few to no college aspirations due to lack of financial support for college. Not wanting to work minimum-wage jobs any longer, he enlisted in the Navy in 1998. Upon graduation from basic training in Great Lakes, IL he reported to Russian Language Training at the Defense Language Institute, focusing on Humanities with an emphasis on both the Russian Culture and Language. It was in the Monterey Bay Area, at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church that he experienced the Call to Ministry, bolstered by attending a discernment weekend at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley California and mentorship from, the late, Pastor Roy Blumhorst.
His initial fleet assignment, after completion of Technical School in San Angelo, Texas was the Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Kunia, Hawaii. Continuing a focus on ministry, he wrote and presented the prayers of intercession at the Barber’s Point Naval Chapel. Transferring in October 2003 to, then, NSGA Fort Meade, Maryland Vicar J led mission development and management efforts, working with leaders across Navy departments and National Security Agency offices to increase efforts securing national interests and safety of military personnel abroad. In 2006, Vicar J moved to Taneytown, Maryland to escape the hustle and bustle of the D.C. Metro area. By chance, he bought a home right next door to Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, subsequently transferring his membership there, officially. Jumping into the life of the Congregation immediately, he was elected to the Congregation Council in 2007 and served as the President from 2007 to 2009 (and again in 2013-2015, overseeing the Pastoral Call Process both times). Vicar J volunteered for a National Intelligence Support Team deployment to Iraq in 2009, supporting CSG Baghdad, the 1st Cavalry and 1St Armored Divisions in Kirkuk, Iraq. He returned to Navy Information Operations Command, Maryland in 2010, supporting submarine deployments world-wide, and deployed 12 additional missions aboard 11 submarines in both SIXTH and SEVENTH Fleets for the remainder of his career; a total of 615 days deployed. Vicar J served as a Direct Support Leading Chief Petty Officer-at-sea and Mission Supervisor for teams of up to 20 Sailors and Officers from as many as three Navy Commands, supporting special operations in potentially hazardous regions. He qualified in SUBMARINES in 2010, and Enlisted Information Warfare Specialist in 2013. Prior to retirement, after 21 years of service, Senior Chief Mills led the Direct Support Department, with 180 deployable Sailors under his charge, and working diligently to stand up a new Navy Command structure for 400 Sailors, writing Navy instructions and ensuring the diligent command support for Sexual Assault Prevention and Casualty Assistance programs.
Active with Trinity throughout all of the assignment changes since 2009, serving on multiple committees and teams in addition to Council, he was a primary Assisting Minister and heavily engaged in the leadership guidance through a period of congregational conflict, ever focused on answering the Call in every capacity possible while awaiting the “right” time. Moving through the ELCA Candidacy Process in the fall of 2017 and being granted a positive “Entrance” decision from the Delaware-Maryland Synod, he opted to postpone retirement for one year and begin part-time studies at the Gettysburg Campus of United Lutheran Seminary. Having completed all residential requirements during the Spring Semester of 2020, he is serving the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA while on Internship with Lord of Life Lutheran in Austin. Being geographically closer to his daughter while serving as a Vicar and completing online studies is the icing on an already gloriously blessed cake. Vicar J plans on graduating from United Lutheran Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, and moving to Ordination in Word and Sacrament in 2022.
Vicar J has one daughter, Ava Morgan, age 14, who resides in Burton, Texas.