Serving Greenville's community as a pastor, leader, writer and caregiver.
|Jun 12|| 3|
How long have you been in Greenville? All of my life.
What is your background? How did you get to Greenville? I grew up right here in Greenville, in the suburbs of Lake Forest area. My home life was very positive, my parents were married until my Dad died a couple of years ago.
The number one question that I get here [at Triune] is, 'aren't you afraid?' That is just never important. There has been rage, there has been sorrow, there has been emotion but fear has never been a part of it.
When people ask me 'why?', I can contribute that to my Dad. He taught me that you simply cannot let fear ruin your decisions. Sure, there are going to be people out there that will try to hurt you but if you live your life looking over your shoulder then they have already won.
This attitude has been very helpful here [at Triune] because we do not have any committees, we try things and if they fail then we stop and don't do it again. If ideas succeed, we say that we are going to keep doing whatever that is. We are not trying to overthink our next step. We are just trying to determine what could be the most helpful solution. How can we help this person move from shelter or into work? School? Whatever the situation might be.
I love writing and thought I would retire from the Greenville News, I met my husband there and I loved being a journalist. Newspapers, however, are changing and I was not as fulfilled. However, my editors called me in one day and asked me if I would start writing religion as I had been in a variety of past news beats. I thought about religion and decided to pursue my Master's Degree in Comparative Religion and they [Greenville News] offered to pay for it. However, nobody within the area had comparative religion: Clemson, Furman, nobody. That led me to going to Seminary down in Erskine, really quite by accident.
When I got into the first class that talked about history of the Bible, I simply started learning things that I wanted to know but the things that I did not know I wanted to learn. It was mesmerizing and I began a three-year process of prayer while working at the Greenville News. There was no moment of blinding light.
After three years and talking with my husband as we had three children, one already in college and two heading to college, I asked my husband what he thought about us being on one salary. My thought was he was going to be against it but he said, 'well you're our finance keeper. If you say we can afford it, then we can.' We did it and I earned my Master of Divinity degree and I was now a Baptist pastor.
When I started looking for a job, people did not want a female Baptist pastor. One of my classmates had been the student pastor here at Triune. She was leaving and told me to apply as Triune had just dissolved it denomination status with the Methodist Church. I came to Triune in 2005, which was the hardest year of my life. We started making some changes and things got better.
What would you say would be the most interesting fact about yourself? I moved from a middle-class, professional career to pastoring a church with radical outreach to the homeless at Triune Mercy Center. I could not have planned it otherwise and my life has been immensely enriched.
What are you currently reading and/or watching? My husband and I are watching Chernobyl.
What are your hobbies? Writing is my favorite hobby. I have written four books that are published and just sent my fifth to my publisher.
I am a murder mystery fan. My first three books are part of a series, using the same characters in the same town.
My fifth book in particular, is a stand-alone. Entitled, 'Murder Forgotten,' it is the story of an aging mystery writer on Sullivan's Island who is losing her memory and is struggling because her husband has been murdered. She does not know if she is responsible for her husband's death.
What phrase do you try to live by? 'You are a Child of God and you are welcome in this place.' It is what we put on the bulletin every Sunday at the Triune Mercy Center. What strikes me the most about our modern society is our anxiety and how alienated we are from each other. Quite frankly, I cannot think of many things worse than free-floating anxiety. It is a constant unease that you cannot place your finger on. We see a lot of this here at Triune - people that are broken regardless of their finances. I want to provide a place where people can come and get a break, feel an oasis that they are loved and accepted.
Who do you work for? Triune. I have a Board of Directors, eighteen members, a lot of whom worship here on Sunday mornings and others from partnering churches.
What is your day-to-day at work? I am the Pastoring Director. The pastoring part is the most important to me. I have an excellent Associate Director that conducts operations, HR and so forth.
My day-to-day is different everyday. On Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, anyone can come in here, have coffee and be welcomed. We have social workers meeting with people, recovery programs, meals, anything that we can think of that allows people to get on their feet.
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are more office hours but I do interact with our social workers as they are here six days a week.
How would you describe Greenville? Welcoming.
How would Greenville describe you? I hope that Greenville would say compassionate.
We have nonprofits that work together. We do not compete for dollars, publicity or anything. We truly work together. Our staff members are on the phone every single day to each other and trying to get help for individuals. I am proud of Greenville because we work together. It is a better way of doing things, we are the perfect size of a city.
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