Manager for Church Relations and Engagement, Episcopal Migration Ministries
What is your relationship with the Church?
I’m a lifelong Episcopalian. I often trace my journey of lay ministry in the Church back to my teenage years, when I began volunteering for a ministry in the Diocese of Lexington called Reading Camp. After I graduated from college, I became the executive director. I loved the work and truly felt it was my calling to serve the Church by being part of ministries that are the hands and feet of the Church, and indeed of Jesus, in the world. In 2012–13, I began to feel that God might be calling me to align my love of working for the Church in ministries that reach outside and beyond our Church.
How and where does Bless show up in your ministry?
Blessing shows up every day, in all sorts of ways. In the past two years, as the refugee resettlement system has been challenged by sweeping and drastic policy changes from this administration, blessing has shown up in the courage, bravery, and commitment of my colleagues at Episcopal Migration Ministries and our local affiliate offices and supporters across the country. In the face of challenge, turbulence, adversity, deep sadness, and mourning, my colleagues show up. And by showing up, they bless the lives of the refugees we are able to resettle and, however indirectly, the lives of millions around the world still seeking safety and the humanitarian workers who struggle to protect and serve them.
How did it feel to give Blessing?
I can only hope that I have given blessing! My colleagues and partners in this work and ministry bless me, buoy me up, give me courage to keep going, and give me joy for the road ahead. I hope that through conversation, laughter, holding space that I have passed the blessing along.
What gives you hope about the future of your ministry?
What gives me hope is that there is an awakening going on in The Episcopal Church and across the country right now about the importance of not just passively “being OK” with refugee resettlement and immigration, but actively taking a stand and claiming a role in being part of the welcoming movement. The vitality and vibrancy of our country, the flourishing of our Church, I firmly believe, will depend on our ability to embrace the talents, strengths, assets, and gifts of all members of our communities – most especially newcomers, refugees, and immigrants. And there’s a growing movement of people who believe that, too, and who are taking their own place in this work. That gives me great hope.
The Way of Love is the Presiding Bishop’s vision for The Episcopal Church. What about the Presiding Bishop gives you hope?
Love is at the root of all we do, all we are. The Presiding Bishop’s message is galvanizing, but it’s also deeply pastoral. He reminds us of what we’re all about, and gives me strength for the journey. Blessing takes intention, time, and creating space for it to dwell. I think we could all benefit from a regular little Holy Spirit nudge to slow down; breathe; and open our eyes, ears, and hearts for the blessings that are all around us.