Regional Arts Center: For seven years (2007–2014), I served as the executive director and senior minister of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. As a regional arts center, we hosted an average of 2,200 people in the building per week, with an average of 50,000 unique visitors to the website annually, in addition to 135,000 views of videos, sermons, and podcasts. My direction of vibrant arts center gave me firsthand experience of the arts and music scene in the Philadelphia metro region.
While in seminary, I wrote and directed a production titled The Revelation to Matthew Shepard. In assessing the show, Professor Hal Taussig wrote, “Nathan Walker’s final presentation was one of the most extraordinary course-based accomplishments in this professor’s lifetime.”
In 2005, Thich Nhat Hahn gave me the Dharma name “Creative Generosity of the Heart” as part of my ordination into the Lám Tê Dhyana School, Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.
I am also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister in final fellowship, comparable to tenure in academic settings. While serving for seven years as the senior minister and executive director of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, I integrated worship and performing arts in weekly services, where we wove instrumental and choral music with congregational singing and meditations with creative sermons and Dharma talks. The image posted here is a word collage that the members of the congregation offered me as a going away gift in June 2014.
After receiving national attention for my innovations in worship arts, Harvard Divinity School invited me to lead a graduate-level preaching seminar, which became the basis for my book Exorcising Preaching: Crafting Intellectually Honest Worship (Chalice Press 2014). Theological schools have since assigned it as a textbook used to train worship artists.
I designed and co-taught three semester-long graduate courses: Foundations of Religious Liberty, Religion and Human Rights, and Capstone Project for the following theological schools and departments of religion:
I was awarded a full scholarship to A.C.T. in San Francisco, CA, where, in 1993, I studied acting and musical theatre with Crag Sleight and Charlotte Cabot.
At Emerson College (1994–1998), in Boston, MA, I trained with Kristen Linklator, Leo Nichole, Davis Robinson, and Bob Colby. My Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is in both musical theatre performance and theatre education.
Performer (1993-1999): Lee Harvey Oswald, Assassins; J. Pierpont Finch, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Cosmo Brown, Singin’ in the Rain; Linus, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz; Matt, The Fantasticks; Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer; Calvin O’Keefe, A Wrinkle in Time (original cast); and solo performances of Eugene Morris Jerome, Brighton Beach Memoirs; and Gregor Samsa, Metamorphosis; Professional industrials at the New York Marriot Marquis, Times Square; Reno Hilton theater; Eldorado Resort and Casino. College productions: principal dancer, Fame: The Musical; principal dancer, Expeditions and Encounters; dancer, Merrily We Roll Along.
Playwright: My play, Of Age, received the first-place “Best Ten-Minute Play” award from the Boston Playwrights’ Theater in 1994. A Woman’s War in the Arms of Men received a standing ovation during its premiere in the Netherlands in 1996.
Director: I received Nevada Arts Council funding to direct Merry Wives of Windsor, Reno’s ArTown festival, and for the children’s production of A Kite’s Tale, Journey to the Center of the Arts’ Reno’s ArTown festival. I directed students in James and the Giant Peach, Happily Ever After, The Grinch Stole Christmas, Scrooge, Christmas in Oz, and Raggedy Ann & Andy.
Artist in Residence (1999–2002): I am a certified public schoolteacher in preK-12 performing arts and communications in Massachusetts. I served as a theatre artist-in-residence with the Nevada Arts Council, where I traveled my home state of Nevada and trained educators how to use theatre arts in their English, social studies, and government classes.
College Instructor (1995–1999): In drawing upon my training and professional experiences, I taught the following college-level theatre arts courses in the Sierra Nevadas, where I was raised: