the Very Reverend Father Basil James Miller
Fr Basil is the Presiding Priest of the Mustard Seed ECC. He received a BS in Biblical studies from Liberty University in 2004. During his studies he felt there was something missing in the Evangelical theological tradition. After a brief stent as a pastor in emergent evangelical ministries he started a philosophy degree at Western Kentucky University in 2005. At WKU he looked into other traditions and soon met a few friends interested in social justice and who had similar questions. This group eventually became focused on starting an Orthodox mission. James was received into the Antioch Orthodox Church in 2008 taking the patron St. Basil the Great. James began almost immediately serving in the altar and soon after parish council.
James graduated from the philosophy program and pursed an MA in folk studies, looking to study more about belief, social justice, and intentional communities. These interests also lead him to complete a graduate certificate in Gender Studies. Along the way he was also pursuing theological education and ordination in the Antiochian Church.
In 2016 he was ordained a sub-deacon in preparation for the deaconate. While his particular parish was relatively progressive he began to see the overall church was not. The church was often quite hostile to LGBTQIA, rejected women clergy of any rank, and was not attentive to social issues even within the church. He did not feel he could pursue ordination to the deaconate or priesthood in the canonical churches. These considerations lead him to take a step back in 2017. Without a more progressive jurisdiction to go to he wondered around a bit. In 2019 he and his wife moved to Florida. Soon after he found the Convergent Christian Communion. He is currently finishing his MTh. He writes roughly weekly on his blog. He was ordained to the priesthood March 21, 2021.
Reader Maxim Davi Hayes
Reader Max was raised, baptized, and chrismated in the Ruthenian (Greek) Catholic Church under the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. From a young age, they were drawn to the mysticism, chanting, and theology of Eastern Orthodoxy, memorizing the movements of the clergy during liturgy and passionately singing and bowing. The exclusionary ordination practices of the canonical church meant that their deep connection to the faith could not fully be realized. Into their early adulthood, they assumed the door to the priesthood was closed to them, but over time, Reader Max realized that being LGBT and an Eastern Christian are not mutually exclusive. Maxim Davi was tonsured to Reader on February 28, 2021, and currently serves as Organizer for The Mustard Seed ECC Mission, with the intention of ordination to the priesthood, so that all who are in need of sacraments, an affirming place to worship as Eastern Christians, and a supportive community can experience the richness of the Eastern tradition and know that God's boundless love belongs to all of us.