A Mini Life History:
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I am a proud Yooper. I spent my summers on the shores of Mother Superior, and my winters going racing down the snow slopes – I learned early to love every season and relish nature’s beauty. For high school, I attended a environmentally-based, college-preparatory boarding school in northern Wisconsin. This further cemented my commitment to environmental justice and my love of the world around us. It was also there that I met my partner of over ten years now, whom I was blessed to marry in 2014. After my junior year of high school, I continued my education and eventually received my B.A. in Anthropology from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI – a liberal arts college that focused on interdisciplinary action and relationships. I’ve also lived in San Francisco, CA and Brooklyn, NY, before returning to my husband’s childhood home – Boulder, CO. Each of these uniquely powerful cities brought me a greater appreciation for the diversity of human experience – a diversity of which I am still sure I have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Wherever our journey takes us next, I anxiously await the new lessons and adventures that lie ahead.
My Call to Ministry:
Realizing my call to ministry was like a snowball– it was passingly suggested in a mundane conversation, only to be followed by comment after comment from my family, friends, and peers during the following weeks and months. The voice of the Holy, embodied in each of them, reaching out to me. I will admit that initially I brushed it off as an unattainable idea, but very soon couldn’t deny the pull and resonance it had with my longings for community, service, and connection to the larger web of life. Throughout the other phases of my life, I had made a concerted effort to create or help sustain life-giving communities. Sometimes this took place within religious institutions, and sometimes it meant other things, like building a community of gamers on my college campus, where playful connection and hobbies were the foundation for forming real relationships. Now I was given a new set of vocabulary to frame my dreams and my goals – ministry.
The biggest emotion I felt in accepting my call was of joyful peace. The more I moved into this process, the more I was filled with this sense of belonging — like the tendrils of my spirit were reaching out longer and further into the world and into my own heart than they ever had. While my call may be something that happened recently, I truly believe that my whole life has been prep work to not only give me experiences and skills that will be adaptable in ministry, but to open my heart, mind, and spirit to the beautiful challenge that lies before me as I continue to explore any questions that come my way.
When I first started exploring education options for seminary, I was looking solely at local, in-residence programs. Then, a Meadville Lombard student in my area encouraged me to attend the 25-Hours at Meadville. Within the first five hours, I knew that I had found my people. I didn’t want to leave, and I couldn’t wait to figure out how I was going to make attending Meadville Lombard possible. Thankfully, it all fell into place.
The interwoven structure of Meadville Lombard pushes us to always look outside the academic “bubble” and expand our comfort zone. Meadville Lombard’s approach to graduate work is an intentional step towards keeping our work in the world we are serving. This year through the Community Studies signature course, I’ve been volunteering at Intercambio Uniting Communities, in Boulder, CO. They work with immigrants in the local community, both to teach them the English language and to connect them to resources and other members of the community. I’ve been working with their events coordinator to plan and execute events that are welcoming and encouraging to all participants. I have also had to opportunity to substitute teach for almost every level of class. All of this has given me a wider view of how Intercambio serves the varied needs of the immigrant community and what it means to adapt these practices when the national climate shifts.
Meadville Lombard’s model will often, not so gently, force me to remember and interact with the world, places, and people that brought me into this work. If our spiritual work, internally and externally, is not grounded in the realities of our modern world it is simply not as real. So our graduate study is rooted in maintaining connection, to others and ourselves. I believe this means we will be religious leaders in and for the modern world, not just for the ivory tower. I look forward to the possibilities this learning style will hold in the internship setting.
Below is my student testimonial: