Reverend Krissy Ramsey, Ph.D. | Interfaith Minister

My path to the ministry was a long and winding one, yet I received the first glimmer of my calling at an early age. Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1961 to a American father and an English mother, I lived in Ohio, England, and Florida before my family settled in Chattanooga when I was 12, following my father's retirement from the U.S. Air Force. Despite a secular upbringing, a series of intense mystical experiences led to my lifelong interest in philosophy and religion. Simultaneously cultivating an innate passion for music, I played several instruments in school concert bands and began writing songs at the age of 15.  

Graduating from Hixson High School in 1979, I enlisted in the U.S. Army the following year, and served as a Smoke and Flame Specialist at Fort Hood, Texas, where I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for my contribution to the reactivation of 2nd Chemical Battalion. In 1984, after leaving the service - and initiated by my first exposure to Christian mysticism - I converted to Roman Catholicism and began a three-year discernment process, exploring a possible call to monastic life while working and pursuing my music career. This process culminated with my completing a two month Observership in a Trappist monastery, however, I decided that it was not my calling, and soon after left the Church altogether over fundamental issues of doctrine.

I started a family with the birth of my daughter, Elizabeth, in 1990, as my spiritual development continued with initiation into in the Western Mystery Tradition, during which period I contributed scholarly articles to the Gnostic journal, Abrasax. Later, my discovery of the work of Indian philosopher,
J. Krishnamurti, and my attendance of a 7-day silent retreat in 1992 with former Zen Buddhist teacher, Toni Packer, proved to be very influential events in my life.  

It was also around this time that I entered the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga (UTC) to pursue a career in counseling psychology. 
While attending University, my spiritual journey continued with personal studies of Celtic Shamanism and New Thought Christianity (the latter through my affiliation with Christ Unity Church, where I also taught in the children's ministry). In 1994 I earned a Black Belt in Taekwondo, and in 1995 I was ordained as a minister in the Universal Life Church (Modesto, California), which latter event coincided with my first plans for founding an interfaith ministry.

I graduated from UTC with a B.S. in Psychology in 1995 and an M.Ed. in Community Counseling in 1996, conducting original research in the field of transpersonal psychology as the basis for my final Masters degree project. Following graduation, I served the community for ten years as a clinical counselor and continued my spiritual education with the study of Tibetan Buddhism, and later engaging in a process of self-inquiry based on contemporary non-duality teachings (Eckhart Tolle, Tony Parsons, John Wheeler, etc.) that lasted several years.

A progressive series of funding cuts for counseling services, capped by the beginning of the Great Recession in 2007, led to the loss of my career and heralded a six-year life challenge that tested every resource I had cultivated to that point. During this period, my spiritual practice intensified and culminated in a total surrender to the Infinite. I returned to UTC in 2011, where I completed two years of coursework in the school psychology program. In 2012 I released of my first music CD entitled, On the Dying Breath of Wisdom. Then, in 2013 - forced by the Universe into following my bliss - I founded my wedding officiant ministry, Chattanooga Wedding Officiants, which was later expanded into Crossvine Church following my ordination as a Minister through Fig Street Ministry (New Orleans, Louisiana) on April 17, 2014. On May 1, 2015 I was ordained as an Interfaith Minister by the Esoteric Interfaith Church and on May 1, 2016, I was awarded a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling from the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary (Cottonwood, Arizona).

In retrospect, while its clear that it would have been far easier for me to have pursued the traditional route through a mainstream religious seminary, I feel that my unique path has provided me with a far more significant foundation for the ministry, preparing me to serve in ways that would have been otherwise impossible.

As a male-to-female transgender person, in March, 2017, I made the decision to pursue my lifelong goal of beginning the gender transition process. As of this writing (May, 2017), it has been the most liberating and exhilarating experience of my life, opening up new creative energies for me and reinvigorating my personal sense of purpose. By this act, I have finally embraced who I am at my deepest core and freed myself to live in full congruity with my True Self.

Beyond that--and despite the challenges that are are always with us in the realm of dualistic manifestation--life continues to unfold simply and freely here. At the end of the day, life is a beautiful mystery, and I take great joy in helping others in my pastoral role while embracing whatever arises in this moment - not knowing where it will take me next, but always looking, listening, and questioning....

Reverend Krissy Marlene Ramsey (May 7, 2017)
Photo by Kori Warriner