Stephen Wayne Locke was born in Pomona, California in 1951. He is the youngest child of James and Lucille Locke, both survivors and transplants of the “Dust Bowl.” After James and Lucille were married, they moved to Baldwin Park, California, a small town in the San Gabriel Valley. It was home to many soldiers of WWII, who were looking to own their own home. The government provided GI loans and housing for many of those returning from war, and Baldwin Park was one of those places. It became Stephen’s home for 21 years, where he listened to the stories of those men who fought in Europe and Japan. His parents lived there until his mother became ill and died of heart failure in 2005.
Stephen attended Vineland Elementary School, Jones Middle School, and Baldwin Park Hight School. During these earlier years Stephen was not much of a student but excelled in sports. He received awards in Baseball and Football. It wasn’t until a literature teacher in his senior year, broke through to something inside him, that provided him the desire for a life reading. After graduating in 1969, Stephen headed off to the local Junior College and became fascinated with philosophy. That interest pushed him to transfer to California State University, Los Angeles, where he entered the Philosophy Department, graduating in 1974 with a degree in Philosophy and History.
In 1973 Stephen married Christine Fullmer, who lived around the corner, and who was his partner in his High School typing class. Just before they married Stephen became interested in studying for the pastorate. In 1975 he entered Fuller Theological Seminary, receiving a M.A. in Theology and later entered the Doctorial Program, which he completed in 1999. It was these experiences and the guidance of his professors that led him into a life of research and pastoral care. He became ordained in the Presbyterian Church, USA in 1986, after working in a small church in Covina, CA and a chaplain of a Psychiatric Hospital, in Alhambra.
Stephen served in four churches throughout his career. While in Turlock, CA, serving the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, he partnered with the professors and the president of California State University, Stanislaus, to develop a speakers’ conference on “Religion in American—finding the common ground.” Stephen spent hours making arrangements for elite theologians and biblical scholars to come to a farming community and share their thoughts on important topics that are changing the face of the church. These were joyful days when Stephen could spend time with theologians who could stimulate his interest in writing and thinking about the problems that surround theological thinking today.
Stephen kept writing for the next 25 years. He wrote meditations, stories, and theological essays that could help his congregation understand their faith, and the ideologies all around them. In his last church he found himself in the middle of the pandemic, which melted the connections that hold all communities together. Instead of letting this time of trouble steal our enthusiasm and joy away from us, Stephen began to write meditations to comfort, uplift and stimulate his congregation, with weekly doses of hopeful pictures of faith and strength, designed to unlock the feelings of isolation and despair. These meditations ultimately matured into his first book, “Outrageous Fortune: Meditations on Living Through a Pandemic and Troubled Times.” He has also written another set of meditations for the Advent Season, entitled “An Absurd Entrance,” which should be out by the end of the 2023. He is also working on his first short story, “Missing”, about a politicians family whose son has gone missing. Dick Stone, a lost and despairing pastor, was asked to find him. What transpires is a story of corruption, darkness and sadness. What we discover is that things are not always what they appear to be. Stephen plans four more detective stories called “The Dick Stone Mysteries.”
Stephen lives in El Cajon, California with his wife Christine. They have been married 50 years and have three children, Justin, Nathan and Ashley. Justin works for a climate change organization, Nathan works for Boise State as an educator and councilor, and Ashley helps traveling nurses find jobs around the country. They are all successful and interested in helping others. Chris and Stephen also four, soon to be five, grandchildren, which is his delight.
Stephen is retired from the pastorate and spends his days writing, researching and reading in his study he calls “The Pequod.” The ship of Ahab, of Moby Dick fame, is an apt name for his study, seeing that the Pequod housed sailors that were guided by a out of control captain that inspired and punished in the same breath. Stephen often says that his books remind him of the sailors of the Pequod. They are used by an obsessed man who desires to be compassionate, but his obsessions distort his desired intentions. In fact, his grandchildren call him “Grumpy Grandpa,” because when he is in his study he doesn’t want anyone to talk. As Ahab continued to search the hearts of the sailors, Stephen does his books. He learns everyday from his sailors the meaning and hope of compassion, that await all who look deeper into our human nature.
Stephen Wayne Locke was born in Pomona, California in 1951. He is the youngest child of James and Lucille Locke, both survivors and transplants of the “Dust Bowl.” After James and Lucille were married, they moved to Baldwin Park, California, a small town in the San Gabriel Valley. It was home to many soldiers of WWII, who were looking to own their own home. The government provided GI loans and housing for many of those returning from war, and Baldwin Park was one of those places. It became Stephen’s home for 21 years, where he listened to the stories of those men who fought in Europe and Japan. These men and their stories inspired him to put a lot of these stories to memory. His parents lived there until his mother became ill and died of heart failure in 2005.
He worked as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, USA for almost forty years. He wrote his first short stories in 1993 about a Secretary, Treasurer and Choir Director of a church. They were never published but sent out to friends and other pastors for entertainment and understanding. The group of people who wanted to read these stories grew over the years with appreciation and praise. Throughout the years he took his interest and talent to create meditations and theological essays for his congregation. His first book is now in bookstores under the title, “Outrageous Fortune: Meditations on Living Through a Pandemic and Troubled Times.”
Stephen was a late bloomer when it comes to writing and the development of an imaginative life. It has been ten years since he started this road to finding a new career. During these ten years he has worked tirelessly to find his voice that was both pastoral and prophetic. During those years Stephens writings were studied and discussed throughout his church in El Cajon, where he served for almost twenty years.
With the publication of his first book, he has been asked to join Logan Crawford on his podcast and to submit his book for review to the New York Times, Sunday Book Review. (Both of these can be accessed through the links on this website) It has been a humble adventure for Stephen, coming into a new life of contemplation and writing. His heart is in developing characters that are real, and meditations that weave a picture of hope and love.
There is more to come from Stephen. He continues to develop a theology that adheres to the narrative stories of the gospels and to spin a tale of darkness and beauty in his stories of detectives and murderers.