About Eric

Eric is married to Terri Eros, a graduate of King University, Bristol, TN where she earned a BA in Economics. Terri has over 30 years of experience in retail store management, buying, store startups and remodels.  Terri currently works in administration in Naples.

EricaEric’s daughter Erica received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (magna cumme laude) from the University of Tennessee, and served as a squad leader in the “Pride of the Southland Marching Band.” Erica received a Master’s Degree in Music at the University of Tennessee.  She is the Associate Band Director at Baron Collier High School, Naples, FL.


mdivEric earned a Master of Divinity degree from the University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He served as Student Body President for the School of Theology from 2009 – 2010.  In 1988, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN.  Eric completed professional flight training at both Naples Air Center and (former) Ambassador Airways.


FirstSoloEBJ 8-18-1981

Eric fell in love with aviation at the young age of 15.  He started flight training at a small airport in Morristown, TN, with aviation legend and flight instructor Evelyn Bryan Johnson. Eric made his first solo flight on his 16th birthday, earned his private pilot certificate two years later, and he has cultivated a love of all things aviation.

IMG_4648Eric began formal professional flight training in Naples, FL in 2000.  Beginning his initial training in the early summer of 2000, and by that fall he had earned an instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, multi-engine rating, and Certified Flight Instructor certificate.  Later with additional training, he added an instrument rating to his CFI certificate.  Eric has over 35 years of experience as a pilot and nearly two decades of experience as a flight instructor.

Eric has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a “Gold Seal Flight Instructor” for his high quality and successful approach to instruction.   Eric also represents the broader aviation community serving as a FAASTeam Representative for the Miami FAA FSDO.  Eric has logged over 1,800 hours of flight time and nearly 1,300 of those hours are as a flight instructor. Eric is a member of the “National Association Of Flight Instructors” NAFI.


Eric is a priest the Episcopal Church, and serves as Rector of St. Monica’s Episcopal Church, Naples, FL.  (Learn  more about St. Monica’s click here).  Eric serves as the Dean of Naples Deanery (2019), and is a member of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida (elected 2018).

Prior to his current ministry with St. Monica’s, Eric served on the diocesan staff of Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida as “Canon for Ministry Development.” His ministry included: Transition Ministry and Bishop’s staff liaison for the ordination process in the diocese.  Eric facilitated the clergy Fresh Start Program in the diocese, a leadership development program for newly called or newly appointed clergy. Eric also served as Rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Englewood, FL as his first ministry call after graduation from seminary.

Eric served on Diocesan Council (2010-2012), and was the Chair of Diocesan Nominating Committee, Chair of the Dispatch of Business (Diocesan Convention), served as a Deputy to the 2018 General Convention, and served on the Evangelism and Church Planting Committee for the 2018 General Convention.  Eric has served the broader church as President of the Board for the Conference of Diocesan Executives (2015-2016).

Prior to ordained ministry, Eric worked as an Associate Buyer with Sears Roebuck and Company, at their home office in Hoffman Estates, IL.  Later, Eric worked as a Buyer with Parisian Stores, a former division of Saks Inc. in Birmingham, AL.

Eric also founded and managed his own aviation business, serving as President/CEO of Aviation Essentials, Inc. (now closed), an aviation retail product, consulting, and pilot services company.


Chaplain_Corps_SealEric joined the CAP Cadet Program in 1979, served until 1987, took a hiatus from the program until 1999, when he re-joined the USAF Auxiliary, and he has served actively ever since.  As a cadet in Tennessee, Eric served in multiple leadership positions in his local squadron and as a member of Wing staff at Tennessee Wing Headquarters.  Eric was awarded the General Carl A. Spaatz award in 1984 and was promoted to the rank of Cadet Colonel. 

In 1986, Eric transferred to the senior member program and was promoted to Captain. In 2017, Eric received the Gill Robb Wilson Award , the pinnacle award for senior member professional development, and holds the rank of Major.  

Eric currently serves as Southeast Region Chaplain overseeing the Chaplain Corps for the following Wings:  Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands .   Eric also actively flies missions as a Mission SAR/DR (Search and Rescue) Pilot, Instructor Pilot, and Cadet Orientation Pilot, and serves as a Mission Check Pilot in Southeast Region.



Eric wrote  “Misfits, Pioneers, and Mission”a book about his ministry journey.  His book is a call to the church to renew her focus on local mission, to embrace engaging hospitality, to develop nimble/flexible formation opportunities, and to explore creative and entrepreneurial approaches to evangelism in the 21st century.

A Blog by Eric Cooter

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