History and historical perspectives have long fascinated Father Peay. His undergraduate study of Church History led him toward monastic life, which he entered at Saint Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, PA) in 1977. Following his first profession of vows he studied for the priesthood and after final vows was ordained deacon in 1981 and priest in 1982. The studies he began in college and pursued in seminary continued following ordination. He returned to Saint Vincent to teach as Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Historical Theology. During his tenure at the seminary he was also engaged in parish work (including one year as a pastor), retreats for clergy, religious and laity, and served as the seminary’s academic dean for five years.
Leaving monastic life in 1994, he then devoted himself to parish work for the next fifteen years in Congregational churches in Wisconsin (Madison and Wauwatosa), while continuing to research, write and teach in various venues. Peay came to Nashotah House as adjunct professor of Church History in 2008 and was elected to the faculty in 2010. His orders were received in August 2010 and he is now a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany. Father Peay’s research has largely focused on the American religious experience, its movements and ecclesial expressions. While his earlier research centered on the history of preaching, Peay has also worked on Puritanism and Congregationalism and is currently examining parallel movements for the recovery of the catholicity of the Church, i.e. Mercersburg and Oxford. His publications include editing four books, articles and reviews in The International Congregational Journal, The Catholic Historical Review, The Congregationalist, a reference article in The Encyclopedia of Protestantism and theological commentaries on the Triduum Psalmody in Feasting on the Word (year A).
His hobbies include reading, cooking, trying to help around the garden, and music (particularly early to Baroque, English choral music, and jazz). Father Peay was married to his wife Julie in 1996 and is the proud stepfather of Jeremy and Matthew.