Deacon Paul Dickinson

Paul Dickinson was born at the UCLA medical center in Los Angeles, California June 10, 1962, the second of three sons born to Tim and Diane Dickinson. He grew up in Southern California except for a brief sojourn to Dayton, Ohio where his younger brother was born in 1963. In the late sixties the family lived in China Lake, California where his father worked as an engineer testing the Sidewinder Missile. From there they moved to the Los Angeles area again for two years, and then finally settled in San Diego in 1974. Paul lived there until his graduation from San Diego State University in 1985.
The spiritual journey of the young family at that time was torturous. Tim and Diane had both grown up in the church and had accepted Jesus at an early age, but Tim began to question his faith in college when he was confronted by the materialist world view that dominated academia at the time. They continued to attend church, however, and were members of a Lutheran congregation in China Lake.

After China Lake the family abandoned church all together. Tim began a spiritual journey through the New Age. Kundalini Yoga and Erhard Seminars Training (est) were the two lengthiest excursions. But nothing satisfied his inner longing for happiness. Finally, after they had moved to San Diego, Diane returned to the Lord and began to attend College Avenue Baptist Church, a large congregation near San Diego State University. Soon Tim joined her and found again the joy and peace that only Jesus can give His people.

Paul’s spiritual journey came to a crisis during his High School years in San Diego. Deeply unhappy but unable to change he finally cried out to God in a moment of despair and God answered. Paul found church suddenly pleasant and began to be involved with the High School Group at College Avenue, becoming one of the student leaders in his senior year. Eventually, the whole family attended College Avenue and it was here that Paul met Susanne Shores who would become his wife.

Paul graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1980 and started attending San Diego State University the next year. He graduated in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, a young wife and a small son named Tyler. Paul was hired by TRW and moved to Long Beach, CA that same year. The next year they had another son, Benjamin.

Paul worked on high energy laser programs for the department of defense, in particular the newly formed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). His involvement with the space based laser brought him and his family to Orange County California where TRW was building the most powerful lasers on earth at their Capistrano Test Site. Paul would work there for the next 21 years.

Starting as a junior engineer on the Alpha space based laser program, Paul would eventually become the senior engineer and assistant program manager for the optics portion of the program. Alpha was one of the most significant SDI programs at that time and visits by top government officials was common. In 1992 a delegation of Soviet scientists visited the site. Part of an agreement negotiated with the USSR was an exchange of scientific visits to each country’s ballistic missile defense sites. Each was allowed to choose any three sites to visit. The Soviets chose Lawrence Livermore National Lab, The Alpha laser facility at the TRW Capistrano Test Site, and Los Alamos National Lab.

Unfortunately, interest in laser weapons waned as the millennium closed, and after 9/11 funding for defense programs was shifted to more immediate needs. The space based laser program was canceled and Paul went to work on the only other large laser being developed at the time, the Airborne Laser, which was under construction at Edwards AFB. He would return to CTS later to oversee the dismantling and disposition of the SBL hardware.

At home Paul and Susanne had added to their family. Five more children were born in the years from 1994 to 2003, Leta Jeannette, David John, Isaac Joseph, Seth Emmanuel, and Ruth Elizabeth. They had been members of a small Baptist church plant in San Juan Capistrano for nearly 10 years. Paul had been a Sunday School teacher and elder until the third split of the small congregation left him on the outside. Seeking a new church was difficult, but Susanne’s father had heard of a unique congregation less than a mile from their house, St. Michael’s Charismatic Episcopal Church. Paul, Susanne, and Susanne’s parents visited on Mother’s Day of 1998 and eventually joined the church.

After a year Paul began to attend the seminary there, having felt a call to the ministry. He finished the class work six years later and graduated in 2013 with a Master of Ministry degree after he and his family had moved to Georgia.

In 2008 Paul was transferred to the White Sands Missile Range where TRW (now Northrup Grumman after a merger of the two companies) had another high energy laser testing facility. They stayed there for two years and after a great deal of unhappiness and fervent prayer Paul quit his job and moved his family to Georgia to be a part of Christ the King CEC in Sharpsburg.

Eventually Paul found work as a Quality Control Technician for a small aerospace company. He was also ordained to the diaconate in April 2014 and continues to serve at Christ the King.