I was born and raised in Georgia in the United States, and I am the oldest of three children. I have a close extended family and was actively involved in my church, school and community during my formative years. When I went away to University in South Carolina, I knew that I wanted to do some sort of church work, but was not sure exactly what God was calling me to.
I trained in Religion and Psychology with an emphasis in Christian Education. It was during my early years at University that I felt called to go to seminary and study for the ordained ministry. It was also during this time that I met my husband Greg. He was at a different university, when we met on a Campus Ministry weekend retreat. We were engaged just over a year later, and married just after we both finished university (June, 1997).
After marrying, Greg and I moved to Virginia and lived on campus at the Seminary. When I had finished my coursework and was preparing to seek a call in a church, there was a yearning to go and explore a new place, to live and work in a different culture. We thought Scotland might be the most logical place for a few good Presbyterians. I learned of Belhaven linked with Spott in East Lothian from a fellow minister, and of the opportunity for such an endeavour to take root there.
After serving as an assistant minister in the Church of Scotland, I felt God calling me to stay in Scotland and work as a parish minister. The environment and ethos for ministry in Scotland is both challenging and rewarding in ways I would never have known had I not come over in this limited tenure position. I take seriously the call of the church to serve all people and to spread the good news of the Gospel. Having served at Belhaven and Spott as assistant minister for one year, it was recommended I serve as Locum Minister for three months whilst the Minister was on extended study leave.
I then spent several months in Cramond, before accepting a call to Dollar, Muckhart and Glendevon. After six years, one dog and two children in Dollar, I was ready to move to a new challenge, and moved to Dunglass. Since coming, we have welcomed two more children into the family and the oldest is at grammar school and next two are now in primary school, with the youngest now in the early years setting full-time
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
- Acts 2:42
For many years, my view of ministry within the Church has been based on Acts 2:42, and the pillars of worship, education, fellowship and prayer with an emphasis on mission to the wider world. I believe preaching and worship which are both theologically sound and culturally relevant, as well as creative and participatory, to be central to equipping those called to these various ministries for their life and work in the church and in the wider world. This vision of collaborative ministry, shaped by grace, involves empowering various individuals and teams within the church to get things done. Developing gifts and being good stewards of time, talent and resources are also a part of such a process.
On the whole, my vision is about building disciples of Jesus Christ. This vision of the Body of Christ has been influenced by my own upbringing, by the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, by the Church Without Walls report and by the shortage of human and monetary resources within the church at present. It must begin in the sense of “journeying together”, of developing relationships, welcoming strangers, gathering for worship, engaging with the Word, and responding to it. Such an outlook would be central to the view of the Sacraments, of weddings and funerals and other pivotal interactions with members of the congregation and the parish. I believe pastoral care and visiting to be crucial to the fellowship of believers, and see innovation in these areas to be necessary in the future.
I have recently completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in a joint programme between the University of Edinburgh and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.