Rev. Fr. Dr. Daniel P. Payne
Fr. Daniel was born to William and Linda Payne in Fort Smith, Arkansas on November 6, 1967. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, living with his father, step-mother and younger brother; his parents are now deceased. His brother lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, working as a detective for the Broken Arrow Police Department. He also has a younger sister who currently lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Fr. Daniel had a good childhood playing sports, especially football, being a member of the Boy Scouts, and serving as class president for several years. His greatest joy, though, was attending church and being mentored by his pastor to become a future pastor.
After graduation from high school, Fr. Daniel attended Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, where he majored in sociology, religion, and philosophy. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the Senior Respect Award by his peers and professors. After graduating, he married and attended seminary at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. At seminary, he discovered Greek Orthodoxy, studying the Church Fathers and Church history. After a year, he moved to Colorado. In 1995, he was chrismated into the Greek Orthodox Church, and a year later, Fr. Daniel moved to Boston where he attended Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He also attended classes at Harvard Divinity School, Boston College, and Weston Jesuit School of Theology, learning from some of the leading theologians and biblical scholars in the world. After graduation from Holy Cross, Fr. Daniel moved to Waco, Texas where he attended Baylor University, earning a Ph.D in Religion, Politics and Society. Following graduation, Fr. Daniel was given a teaching position at Baylor University. He taught in the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, being a member of the Graduate Faculty, and in the Honors College at Baylor University. Fr. Daniel was given the opportunity of giving lectures around the world including Russia, England, Japan, Greece, Belgium, Austria and Canada. He has published two books and several articles on such topics as religion, secularism, politics and human rights.
In 2004 Fr. Daniel was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and served the parish of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Waco, Texas. In 2010, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood and served as an associate priest at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston, Texas. After four years, he served Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Bayard, Nebraska. In 2015, he began working on his counseling degree and began working as a mental health and substance abuse counselor in Wyoming. He currently works for Central Wyoming Counseling Center in Casper, Wyoming as a Licensed Professional Counselor.