James Krueger | Priest, Husband, Homesteader, Writer, Songwriter
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IN March of 2021, I was ordained Presbyter in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR). Prior to this, I had served as Deacon, then Priest Associate for a year, then Priest in Charge for six years in a small Anglo-Catholic parish in the northwestern Catskill Mountains of New York State. Currently, my wife, Maureen, and I operate Cloud-Bearing Mountain Christian Retreat & Training Center (Mons Nubifer Sanctus), a Christian spiritual retreat center offering training in the Christian spiritual life geared towards the needs of householders living and working in the world. The Center also houses Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Christian Church. Still in our beloved Catskill Mountains, we are located in Bovina, NY. I blog regularly on the Cloud-Bearing Mountain website, where there is also a listing of our programs and upcoming retreats.


ON June 22, 2013, I married my beloved fiancee and friend Maureen Heffernan-Nagy. Together we make our way through this life, growing older and closer with the years. As a young man, I was once somewhat flippant about marriage, but that was my own weakness. Marriage takes incredible strength and maturity, and though the stakes are high indeed, learning to love authentically is its own reward. My gratitude for Maureen, who daily teaches me love, runs deep.


CONCERNED about the social and environmental degradation associated with contemporary American lifestyles, hearing the Gospel call to humility of life, desirous of meaningful labor with palpable rewards, and enjoying a genuine intimacy with nature, Maureen and I are establishing a small farmstead in our beloved Catskill Mountains. Located in Delaware County, New York, and backed by over 2,500 acres of public land preserve, the lovely 12.6 acres given to our care is shared with deer, turkeys, bobcat, coyotes, and bear. Over the past two years, we have planted over 60 fruit and nut trees, have built a small community house with off-the-grid guest cabins, and are revitalizing old pasture for new ruminants. Though the work has been gargantuan, our goals are relatively simple: to grow the bulk of our own food with a small surplus to share with neighbors, friends, buyers, and retreat guests.


THOUGH I am shy and have often been called a quiet mumbler, I have always loved words. The attraction was likely passed along by my parents: my father was an elementary school principal with a Master’s in English, and my mother a second grade teacher. My own school career until college was rather dismal. Despite their frustration with my role as class clown, however, my teachers early on encouraged in me a love for writing, but it would be my wife, the consummate editor, who would convince me of the merits of proper grammar and spelling. For much of my adult life my writing has been focused on poetry and song lyrics. In recent years, however, I have been moved to take up some of the pressing issues of our day in the more rational and linear form of the essay. Though poems and essays of mine have been published in various periodicals, The Disfiguration of Nature is my first full-length book to be published. It is published by Wipf and Stock in Eugene, OR. It is on my to-do list, though not very far up at this point, to follow this work up with something a little less political and more personal, theological, and nuanced.


I BEGAN writing and performing my own music at age 15, and recorded my first professional demos at 16 with The Institute of Sound (IOS), a great specimen of the high school garage band. My big brother, Tom, was the lead singer, and we (our spouses, mostly) still like to replay the old video tapes of rehearsals in the basement, mostly for the rich material it offers for a good taunt. At age 19, I moved to the big city with a new solo EP to my name and dreams of making it big. I now have six full-length albums, one of which has never been publicly released. Over the years, my aspirations have substantially changed, and some of the material on these albums is as embarrassing as those old video tapes. Nevertheless, music remains a friend of mine, and for what it’s worth you can listen to some of this material and purchase CDs on the Shop page of this site.


Please also visit www.catskillhome.net for other posts by James Krueger.