Ten Minutes With Tommy Dillon // Grace Church Reactor and Karoke Fan

Bt Valerie Reinke

Tommy Dillon arrived on Bainbridge Island scarcely six months ago. Since then he has: taken the helm at Grace Church; purchased a Winslow condominium; helped pass a proclamation establishing LGBT Pride Month; collaborated with St. Barnabus to remember the Charleston church shooting victims; recorded podcasts; posted scenic pictures on the Bainbridge Islanders Facebook page; and even found time to explore island trails and restaurants. He chatted with us about life as a rector on the island.

What were your first impressions of Bainbridge Island?

I was overwhelmed with its beauty. Last October, when I was in the middle of the interview process with Grace Church, I snuck out to see if I could actually live here. Wherever I live I want to have a strong connection with the land. I was blown away by the sacred energy of the island and its greenness.

What changes are you making in order to adapt to life here?

I am learning how to just “be” and not always be doing something. I moved here from San Francisco where there was always something to do and it was overwhelming. Here the choices are much more limited so I’m able to slow down and this has allowed me to become more spiritually centered and to live a healthier lifestyle.

What’s your favorite local hang-out?

I have recently discovered “Karaoke Night” at Isla Bonita on Friday nights. The place is packed with all types of people singing, dancing and having interesting conversations. It is one place on the island where there is truly a diversity of people. When I look around I see an image of what I believe the Kingdom of God is like: young, old, gay, straight, wealthy, poor, working class, conservative and liberal. And they’re all singing their hearts out and enjoying life!

When you’re not singing karaoke, what are you listening to?

I have fallen in love with the [Seattle-based] band St. Paul de Vence. I first connected with them at a house concert in Santa Cruz, earlier this year. Their music and lyrics touch my heart in a deeply spiritual way and I try to see them often. I’ve become a groupie!

What books are on your nightstand?

Rising Strong by Brené Brown Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell.

Evidently you can take the boy out of Louisiana, but can you take Louisiana out of the boy?

My father was a chef and caterer, so I’m always on the lookout for good Southern cooking. I love being able to get banana pudding at Jake’s Pickup, BBQ up in Port Gamble, and Creole and Cajun at Creola in Pioneer Square.

Favorite cocktail?

That would have to be a Rose Kennedy—vodka soda with a splash of cranberry.

On a typical day, where can we find you?

Walking in the Grand Forest, hanging at Pegasus Coffee, walking the Hall’s Hill Labyrinth and, of course, at Grace.

What’s your personal philosophy?

I try to live my life so as to leave the world a better place. Or, to quote Steve Jobs, we should “make a dent in the universe.”

Ten Minutes With Tommy Dillon Grace Church Reactor and Karoke Fan