My family has a long and proud tradition of ministry in the Presbyterian Church dating back to the 1600s.
I was baptized and confirmed in the Sixth United Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, now Eastminster Presbyterian Church. I vividly remember giving my first sermon at Eastminster, while attending Yale Divinity School, and being utterly struck in that moment by a call to serve God and my community for the rest of my life.
Ordained in 1977, and married a few years later to my husband of over 30 years, I have been blessed to raise two sons and serve Presbyterian and ecumenical communities in Pennsylvania and beyond. In 1997, I completed my Ph.D. at Duquesne University. My thesis was on the Spiritual Formation of Motherly Love.
My church home is The Community of Reconciliation, an intentionally interracial, multi-denominational and inclusive congregation in Pittsburgh.
My ministry has included serving as Moderator of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. When my year as Moderator ended, the Executive Presbyter, Rev. Harold Scott, wrote that, “more than any other Moderator in the memory of those of us who have been in the Presbytery for a long time, you encouraged us to move to the throne of grace in your prayers of intercession before reports and in those moments of thanksgiving at their conclusion.”
I currently serve the Synod of the Trinity as a member of the Nominating Committee and am on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Presbytery Foundation, which supports the life and mission of the presbytery.
My ministry has also included work to extend the welcoming hand of faith to communities who have felt left out of church life. This has included serving at both Imani Christian Academy, and Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary as a Trustee and at The Neighborhood Academy as a teacher and advisor.
Shortly after taking my ordination vows, the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faithful in the church became an issue of conflict within our Presbyterian community. Through the years, I have watched it become one of the defining debates in our modern church life. In my efforts to be a servant of Christ, and as part of my ministry, I have joined with many faithful Presbyterians in the discussion and discernment over this matter.
My heartfelt belief is, and has always been, that God fully welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into the Body of Christ. At the same time I recognize there are those who disagree with me on this. I’ve been a witness to the hurt on all sides of this debate and have felt called to build bridges and reconciliation among us all.
I look forward to the day we can be a whole church family that proclaims the Gospel with joy and lives together as the Body of Christ with power. I look forward to the day our souls open together to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we know God’s will and are fueled by joy to do it.