Since early childhood, William David Spencer has been in love with books and, particularly with mysteries and adventure stories. Captivated as a small child by the ingenious tales of Joe Pooh, Teddy Bear Detective, spun out by his endlessly inventive older sister, the young boy was left bereft of sister and story at her untimely death when he was only six years old. Books, poems, music and lyrics were his solace and he has been deeply immersed in creating them ever since.
Born and reared in urban central New Jersey, his life was changed by two events; his encounter with Jesus through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship after a thought-provoking hospitalization in the summer between his final year in high school and first year in college, due to cutting too much weight as co-captain of his high school wrestling team; and the impact of a riot in his birth city, Plainfield, N.J., during the racial upheavals in the late 1960s. The second event propelled him into a lifetime of urban ministry taking the healing message he’d learned from the first event to the streets of Plainfield, then to Newark, Philadelphia, back to Newark/New York/Jersey City, Trenton, Louisville, Kentucky, and today to Boston, where he trains ministers, as professor of theology and the arts, with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education. Along the way he played in a band during the Jesus Movement, performing at coffee houses and festivals, helped establish a school for store front pastors, planted a storefront church he continues to co-pastor, helped create an academic journal and a book line and has had many adventures himself in city ministry.