Julian was born in England where he grew up entirely outside the church. It wasn’t so much that he never gave church a second thought, he never thought about it at all.
After completing his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees, he moved to Canada where he held a postdoctoral fellowship in chemistry for two years before coming to Toledo to take up a faculty position in the chemistry department at The University of Toledo. He served at UT as Assistant Professor for 3 years, Associate Professor for 3 years, Professor for 3 years and as Distinguished University Professor for 14 years, including nearly 3 years as Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. During this time he was awarded the university’s outstanding teaching award, the outstanding research award and various other bits and pieces that seemed important at the time.
Along the way he got married to Mary Kay Smith who had been raised in a small United Methodist Church in Pemberville, Ohio. She persuaded him to visit a church with her one Sunday where Julian proceeded to irritate everyone by asking questions about almost everything (“why do you say ‘amen’ at the end of prayers?” …. “is it OK to ask questions during the sermon?” …. “why does everyone keep standing up and then sitting down all the time?”…. and so on). Fortunately the people there embraced him and made him part of their church family. After a journey through many Sunday School classes, retreat experiences and a host of other formative events, Julian realized that he was called into ministry.
He took himself off to seminary to obtain the M.Div. degree, resigned his position at UT and entered the ministry in The United Methodist Church. He served at Epworth U.M. Church in Toledo for three years, first as Youth Pastor and then as Interim Pastor before being appointed by his Bishop to return to the university community and start a new church. Because Julian didn’t grow up in a church and still doesn’t really know why churches do most of the things that they do, don’t expect The University Church to look like anything you’ve ever seen before!