During his time away from church, Vicar Bill Murray likes making iconography, taking his boys to soccer practice, and busting some moves on the dance floor.
And it’s OK with him if you want to joke about the “other” Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live and Hollywood movies fame. “It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s just funny. Some people will immediately recognize it and others who have known me for six months will suddenly make the connection and I think that’s even funnier.” Others get a little confused. “Some people will joke, ‘hey, you were great in The Blues Brothers,’ and I will say ‘uh, neither I nor the actor were in that movie.’”
Murray has been the Vicar at Saint Michael since July of 2014. Born and raised in Memphis, he graduated college from the University of Memphis with a Bachelors of Arts in International Economics and English Literature. He served as a youth minister at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis before deciding to pursue ordination to the priesthood. He received his Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary and is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Murray has been married to wife, Jessie, for 13 years and they have two sons, Mose, 7, and Abe, 5. “We like to play with the kids and hang out,” he said. “We go to soccer games, violin, and piano practice.”
The couple also likes to go out dancing and have tried Texas line-dancing but “couldn’t quite get it all figured out,” he said. So instead they prefer a modified swing dance, where he can move his wife around the dance floor. “I spin her around a lot.”In addition to dancing, Murray became interested in drawing and painting icons after taking a class on the subject. He auctioned one of his works at Saint Michael’s Parish Party but prefers to make them for family and friends. “I created one of Moses in the burning bush for my son Mose, it’s on his wall. And I gave one of Jesus as sower of seeds to my spiritual director. I do it because I enjoy it and it’s a fun practice.” Murray says he uses an egg wash with pigment and vinegar to create the colors for the images. “I enjoy that alchemy of mixing the ingredients to get the right color. It takes about 40 hours to paint one. I learned how in a continuing education class at Kanuga in North Carolina and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Although Murray is from Tennessee, he said he and his wife have easily adapted to life in the Lone Star State because culturally “it’s still the south.” However, he said, “We have found it completely true when they say everything is bigger in Texas,” he said.