Rev. Brian Kemp-Schlemmer
From an early age Brian Kemp-Schlemmer has struggled with the grey areas of life. A cradle Christian and native Tempe-tian, he grew up torn between a Biblical imperative to love his enemies and welcome the strangers in his midst, and his deep loathing of all things University of Arizona related.
Brian carried those ambiguities with him throughout his early career as an actor, his work with special needs folk through his local high school and area Lions Club camp, his work with the homeless community in Tempe, and into his bachelors program in Social Work at Arizona State University, where his commitment to those less fortunate and his animosity toward the Wildcats were fed simultaneously.
Finally, in his Junior year at ASU, Brian traveled to South Africa to study the principles of Peace-building and Reconciliation in the aftermath of the Apartheid era. It was there that Brian learned the Xhosa philosophy of Ubuntu which taught that our humanity (which he extrapolated into our reflection of the divine) depends upon our humane treatment by and toward all those around us, or more succinctly, that he could not fully be the person God created him to be unless his sisters and brothers were allowed to be the people God created them to be.
This philosophy deeply shaped Brian’s theology and led him to pursue a seminary education at Drew Theological and ordained ministry within the United Methodist Church. It was also this understanding of Ubuntu which allowed him to truly love and serve the people of his first appointment at Desert Skies United Methodist Church, despite being located in Tucson, AZ and which taught him how to be a marginally tolerable husband to his lovely, talented, and grace-filled wife Summer. City Square is the beginning of a process that Brian has dreamed about for years and he is proud to be a part of the innovative, hard-working, caring community that is emerging in Downtown Phoenix.