I’ve been married to Sarah Bleything for 12 years. We have a growing family of six and we couldn’t be more happy or more tired!! Along with my wife and I, there is Elliott, Evelyn, Amelia, and Owen.
We’ve been living in the Milwaukee area for the better part of 10 years. For a brief time, we took leave of the city to pursue graduate degrees (Tony – Master of Divinity, Sarah – Physician Assistant Studies). During my second year of seminary we were compelled by the Spirit to return to Milwaukee to serve the city. Some people feel called to a denomination or a specific type of ministry, our calling has been geographic. God has given us a deep love for Milwaukee and it is that calling that we strive to remain faithful to.
When the Lord called us back to serve in Milwaukee he was also preparing a way for Sarah. Six months before Sarah’s graduation from PA school, The 16th Street Community Health Clinic extended an offer to work with them. Sarah has been working for this community clinic in the heart of the Milwaukee Hispanic/Latino community ever since. Everyday Sarah is brought face to face with the needs of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable.
After returning to Milwaukee in the midst of seminary, I served as an assistant pastor of youth ministry for Eastbrook Church. During this time, we purchased our first home in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee. It didn’t take us long to fall in love with Riverwest.
In 2009, after my time of service at Eastbrook came to an end, the Lord took us away from the city for a season of refreshment and encouragement. During this time, I (Tony) began working for Nashotah House Theological Seminary as the Director of Distributed Learning and Educational Technology. It was while I was at ‘The House’, and while I was immersed in the life of Anglicanism, that I began to realize the Lord’s call more clearly. After three years at Nashotah House, I embraced Anglicanism and have since been ordained as an Anglican Priest. During my time at The House, the Lord did not just bring me to a place of theological rest; he also used the season to expand my heart for Milwaukee. Conversation after conversation brought an ever increasing conviction that the Lord was calling us to new work in Milwaukee.
It has been two years since a fateful after-dinner walk sent us down a path to plant a Missional Anglican Church in the riverwest neighborhood. The church plant has been an adventure full of great joy and great difficulty. We are blessed to be part of a growing and thriving parish in Riverwest. Christ Redeemer Anglican Church continues to occupy my thoughts and dreams. With each passing day, the Lord roots us ever more deeply in this vibrant neighborhood. What a gift to call this home.