Accessibility to the mountains and nature sealed the deal for the Rev. Rick Tiff.
When St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Dalton extended an invitation to Tiff to become its new priest, he accepted the invitation and the adventure. Adventure and the connection to the outdoors made Dalton an appealing choice, as adventures in travels and in outdoor sports and activities are a way of life for Tiff.
"I grew up in many places, attending five elementary schools, two junior high schools and three high schools in both the U.S. and Germany," he said.
As Tiff traveled with his parents for their work, he learned to appreciate meeting new people and experiencing the best of what communities have to offer. He took those skills with him into the world after earning his masters of divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and graduating from General Theological Seminary in New York City in 2005.
Tiff began his adventures as a priest and chaplain in California which led a few years later to serving in a construction battalion known as the Seabees for the Navy. Within this group, he would serve as the chaplain at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. His next tour of duty was with the Marines at Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. His service with the Seabees would lead him to serve with his battalion in places such as Croatia, Serbia, Afghanistan, Liberia, Uganda and other countries in Africa.
Tiff comes to Dalton from the U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, as his military service winds down, and he looks for new adventures in the outdoorsy region of North Georgia and East Tennessee.
As a runner and outdoor enthusiast, Tiff is excited about Dalton and its surrounding areas.
"That is why I'm excited about going to Dalton," Tiff said. "The community is small, yet it is located between two wonderful cities, Atlanta and Chattanooga ... Dalton itself is located in an area that is very accessible to the mountains and nature. It is a good balance and reflects who I am."
The St. Mark's community is excited to welcome Tiff and his experience with youth and pastoral care, his passion and his sense of adventure, and his abilities to lead in a positive way. The church welcomed Tiff on his first official day as head priest at St. Mark's on Easter Sunday.