Enjoy this first installment in a series of interviews featuring the staff and clergy of St. Thomas. Our hope is to illuminate the work we do, especially when it happens behind the scenes, and deepen our connection with all of you.
Q: When did you start working at St. Thomas?
A: I started working part-time at St. Thomas in October of 2015 and full-time in October of 2016.
Q: What's your professional background?
A: My professional background is in non-profit development (fundraising), stewardship (volunteer & donor recognition), and engagement (events and regional programming).
Q: How did you come to St. Thomas?
A: I grew up on the Monterey Peninsula and suppose I’m what you’d call a “cradle Episcopalian.” I was baptized at St. Dunstan’s in Carmel Valley, confirmed at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea in Pacific Grove, and was soprano section leader at All Saint’s in Carmel. My husband, two boys and I started attending St. Thomas shortly after we moved to Washington from California in 2012. We attended a few services at St. Thomas before we moved to the area, and experienced such hospitality during those visits, that we knew this would be our church home.
Q: What do you love about St. Thomas?
A: I love the music program at St. Thomas and experience being a member of the choir as an incredibly rewarding spiritual practice. I’m thrilled that the choir will sing in Gloucester Cathedral in 2019 and can’t wait to honor our Anglican roots in that an ancient, sacred space.
Q: Why was your position created?
A: St. Thomas’ vision, outlined in the strategic plan which was launched in 2015, has four main goals: Deepen Our Faith; Build Community; Give, Care & Serve Generously; and Practice the Hospitality of God. Community is at the core of each of those goals, and the Vestry identified the need for a dedicated staff person to attend to this emerging need at St. Thomas. The role was a match with my professional skills and the timing of the position worked well for our family as our youngest son had just started preschool.
Q: So, what do you actually do?
A: Ha! Working for a small organization, I’d say that we all do a little bit of everything! Officially, I’m tasked with the cultivation, engagement, stewardship and support of: Community Life volunteers; St. Thomas’ neighbors and collaborators; donors and supporters of St. Thomas and its Mission and Vision; and St. Thomas’ church-wide enrichment events. I also manage a large part of our external communications projects including the St. Thomas website, social media, print media, design work, civic & government relations and outreach to local charities.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: I love my colleagues (we really do have the best people here!), and I love that I get to lend my talents to making a difference in our community and doing my own part to help heal the world with love.
Q: What is most challenging about your work?
A: Becoming an employee at my place of worship was definitely an adjustment. Mixing my professional, spiritual and social lives together, quite honestly, took a leap of faith. I wondered: Would I still love coming to church on Sundays? Will working with MY priests change how I experience their presence in my spiritual life? Will my friends treat me differently now that I have a key to the building?
I've learned that: 1) Priests are people, too! 2) My colleagues are earnest in their efforts to do good and are among the most capable, supportive and fun folks with which I've had the privilege to work. 3) Having a key to the building has unlocked a spiritual path to understanding that God is within me - not exclusively AT St. Thomas - and that we can all carry a sanctuary of peace, love and understanding within ourselves.
Q: What is next for you at St. Thomas?
A: I’m excited about a big initiative we’ll be launching in the fall. The project, Wednesdays @ St. Thomas, is all about community and living into our strategic plan. Our vision is to have a multi-generational offering of programs and table fellowship, filled with activities that deepen our faith, invite and welcome our neighbors to be in community with our congregation, and support our efforts to know and care for each other. My hope is to make it really easy to enrich ourselves (physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually) AND be in relationship with each other.