Hi! Thanks for being a part of this blog! My hope is that these posts will encourage you to encounter yourself and your neighbor with an open heart. As you come to see with a fresh "palette", may you find hope and healing in your life.
Each of us encounters life from a distinct point, influenced by our experiences. My life began in the hills of West Virginia in the River Bend of Saint Albans. My mom was a church musician, Dad worked as a project engineer, and from there we made several moves to follow Dad’s work, taking up home in North Carolina, Delaware and finally Oklahoma, where my parents still live. I had a variety of schools and classmates, opening my mind to diversity and a curiosity about how life is so different and yet so similar all at the same time in different parts of our country. The energy and excitement for discovery gave me an adventurous heart. After a degree in music performance at Oklahoma State, I ventured to Madison, WI to study more flute and from there to the Czech Republic to teach English. Along the way, I discovered that more than teaching flute and teaching English, what I really wanted to do was teach about faith, or rather start conversations about faith and life and everything in between. So, I went to seminary in Atlanta, Columbia Theological Seminary (PCUSA), and the rest flows from there.
My first call as a pastor was to a passionate and missional church in St. Paul, Nebraska. The folks at First Pres taught me about family, “framily” and farming. I learned how to put up corn, how to sew a quilt, the importance of irrigation, and the generosity of people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever it takes to make a miracle happen. Those miracles took the shape of Thanksgiving dinners serving 400 people, Sewing Classes building relationships with 20 some young girls and 20 some experienced ladies, after school church fun, and spirit-filled baptisms for all ages.
My second call was to a college town! Manhattan, Kansas, the home of Kansas State University, Go Wildcats! As Associate Pastor, I reached out to youth, young adults and “young” adults, and I even got the “experienced” adults to work alongside us. I learned how to do the Wabash Canonball, how to spend the day in a coffee shop, the depth of diversity and all the challenges that go with that in Kansas, the generosity of people who see a need and want to fill it, and the passion of a downtown church which shares com-passion with all of it’s neighbors, no matter what their background or life circumstances.
My third call was in Amarillo, Texas! I served as the Pastor of St. Luke Presbyterian Church, a lively, loving and creative community. These folks show their heart for inclusivity by making sure that all people feel welcome—welcome to participate, welcome to dream, welcome to lead, welcome to love and be loved. I’m so honored to have served as a part of their ministry in Amarillo, serving with “hands of service, hands of faith, and open hands of love.”
My fourth and current call came out of a longing for home and wondering about what would come next. I had begun my Doctorate of Ministry degree and had two kids and lived through some challenges with Covid-19, and in my discernment of my future call, I felt the Spirit call me to walk alongside First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma through their Interim time between senior pastors. I have enjoyed helping them remember what values are essential to their ministry and why they love their church community. I am redefining my own values and my "why" for ministry--to create spaces where people can encounter God together, a loving God who created us in a beautiful diversity to live in a beloved community. At the same time, I get to daily rediscover Stillwater through the eyes of my husband and children. Eskimo Joe's and Hideway are now Collins' favorite restaurants, instead of just Mommie's college hideouts. The Spirit has been working in all of us to renew our spirits and strengthen us body, mind and soul.