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Doug Engwall

Doug Engwall, the youngest of five boys, grew up in the Swedish Baptist church where the family all exercised a love of music. Doug discovered a wonderful college major called psychology and took a fair number of religion courses and thought about entering the ministry. Ultimately, Doug enrolled in graduate school in biopsychology and was lucky to get a teaching post at Central Connecticut State University upon finishing his degree. Doug married Karen Block in her parent's backyard. Both sets of parents wondered about their interfaith marriage (Karen is Jewish), but Doug and Karen have done great somehow. They are blessed with two terrific children, Beth and David, both married with families; and they have three grandchildren.


After engaging with several Protestant denominations, Doug finally found his true spiritual home after joining a choir at an Episcopal church (St. John's, West Hartford). From the start, he felt called to do more in his new church home. Soon he was a lay reader conducting services at a nursing home. While sharing the peace with the frail elderly, the Holy Spirit spoke to Doug in a powerful way. “This is where you need to serve. Find a way to do this.” Doug enrolled in the Ministry Exploration Program, where he discerned a call to become a deacon. Ordained in 2007, Doug was blessed with his first posting at Trinity, Collinsville. Doug also served as the assisting chaplain at Seabury Active Living Community. While serving at Seabury, Doug’s Sunday morning duties shifted to St. Mark’s in New Britain, where he served for a number of years. Deacons typically serve 3–5 years before they are encouraged by Bishop Laura Ahrens to find a new ministry. 


In the spring of 2020 just before COVID-19 hit, the bishop encouraged Doug to find a new parish and a new chaplaincy. During the summer of 2020, the time seemed right for Doug to renew his search for community and he found his way to St. James. Doug and Father George found a connection and began discussing a possible role in an outreach ministry to nearby senior living facilities. With Bishop Ahrens’ blessing, and support from St. James Vestry, Doug is excited to continue his spiritual journey joining hands and hearts with the good people of St. James Parish

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