Reverend Canon David Anthony Pfaff










As Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Milwaukee since 2007, I enjoyed providing counsel to the bishop, pastoral care to clergy, and support for congregations in transition.  In addition, I managed diocesan property issues, and built and strengthened relationships within the diocese and wider church.  A decline in diocesan income led to the elimination of the position earlier this year, and so I am currently discerning the nature and place of my next call.

I served as President of the diocesan Commission on Ministry, overseeing a complete redesign of the ordination process. I was Ministry Development Network coordinator for Province V.  Deputation co-chair to three General Conventions, I serve on the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations of the Episcopal Church.  In the community, I have been a board member of Milwaukee’s Episcopal life-care community, and of Greater Milwaukee’s Interfaith Conference.

Before moving to diocesan work, I was Rector of St. Mark’s Church, Milwaukee; Priest-in-Charge of Ascension Church, Ipswich, MA; and Associate Rector of Christ Church, Raleigh, NC. While on the diocesan staff, I served for a time as priest-in-the-interim at the Church of St. John Chrysostom in Delafield, WI.

Although raised in North Carolina, I have family roots in western Pennsylvania, and Nebraska.  I received a B.A. with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1986, and an M.Div. in 1992 from General Seminary in New York.

I enjoy exercise, particularly long-distance walking.  I loved hiking part of Spain’s pilgrimage route to Santiago as part of a recent sabbatical exercise.  A student of iconography for 20 years, I enjoy working with paints and holy images.

I have been married to Emily Vaill Pfaff, who began her career as a social worker in Philadelphia, since 1989.  We have three children: Andrew, 20, a junior, and Helen, 18, a freshman, both in college at Sewanee in Tennessee, and Edward, 10, who is in fifth grade.

Academic histories and training

  • 1989-1992 Master of Divinity, Divinity, General Theological Seminary
  • 1982-1986 Bachelor of Arts with honors, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of North Carolina
  • 2008 Appreciative Inquiry for Clergy Search Consultation Training, Clergy Leadership Institute
  • 2007-2009 Human Interaction and Conflict Management, Leadership Training Institute
  • 2007 Completed 2-year congregational development program, Church Development Institute

*Please click here to view Reverend Canon David Pfaff’s Responses.