Friday, April 24, 2015

Graduation & Life Update!

In true form, I am updating my blog when I should be doing something else - finishing my final paper for seminary. Below is a letter I recently wrote to my home congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Granbury, Texas. It was edited to be shorter for the newsletter, which I completely understand, but I wanted the full letter published so people in the congregation could also read it. 


I wanted to write you a short letter thanking you for the continued support over the last 3 years. As many of you know, I came to McCormick Theological Seminary in the fall of 2012 open to exploring different forms of ministry both inside and outside of the traditional idea of church. It was only through your continued prayers and financial support that I was able to fully discern my call.
I have been fortunate to complete my field studies education this year at Faith in Place, a faith-based nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago focused on helping faith communities across Illinois to better care for the Earth and address issues of environmental injustice on economically-depressed communities that suffer worse from pollution than more privileged communities. I have served at Faith in Place as a very untraditional seminary intern with a focus on grant writing. I realized last year when I was in the process of leaving my traditional seminary intern position at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church that my seminary education and undergraduate degree in business coupled with my passion for helping the underrepresented and deep love of Excel spreadsheets were perfectly married in the field of grant writing.

I came to Faith in Place as the organization was in the midst of a leadership transition. The woman who started Faith in Place in 1999, Rev. Clare Butterfield, stepped down as Executive Director in June 2014, and I began my internship just a few short months later in August. God’s hand was truly in my assignment to Faith in Place, as I felt when I spoke with the new Executive Director, Rev. Brian Sauder, and shared with him my hope of learning grant writing. Brian was not new to Faith in Place, and had started the Central Illinois office 5 years ago as he completed his Master of Divinity and MBA at the University of Illinois. Faith in Place did not have a staff person focused on grant writing, though much of our budget depends on it, and the news that I wanted to focus on it was a huge relief.

I have had fantastic learning opportunities during my 10 months at Faith in Place and I am happy to tell you that Faith in Place is hiring me full time, starting on May 1st, to be their new Development Director! I am so glad that I will be able to stay in Chicago, working alongside my devoted colleagues who work hard every day to make our shared Earth a safer and healthier place for future generations.

I am honored to graduate on May 9th, with a Master of Arts in Ministry, alongside my creative and passionate classmates. Members of my class will continue in their careers as ministers, teachers, lawyers, and small business owners, and start new jobs as both ordained clergy and leaders outside of the church working as chaplains, worship coordinators, social workers, and staff at nonprofit organizations.

Thank you again for your many years of support! I cannot imagine what my time at McCormick would have been like if I did not have such a caring, dedicated, and supportive group of people cheering me on. Regardless of where I live, First Presbyterian Church of Granbury will always be my home congregation!

If you are interested in Faith in Place and want to learn more about the organization (or donate!!) please click here to visit our website

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