Recently I was asked to share my call story with some young people in the church. Because in my professional life I usually write stories about others, it was a fun exercise to spend time reflecting on the course of my life, my faith and my sense of vocation.
Oftentimes I choose to blog about my call to mother but I rarely discuss my call to serve the church in my professional career. Here’s a short overview of what brought me to my current call as a content editor with the national office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- I grew up in the Lutheran church. My mom is an organist and Lutheran school teacher. Some of my earliest memories of church involve either me sitting nearby the organ bench where my mother was playing or singing my little heart out in the children’s choir.
- For me, faith and music are intertwined. Singing in the choir was always a big part of my worship experience. (Being the daughter of the music director–also my mom–I had no choice.) Luckily, I loved it. I adore music and continued singing in church through college at Valparaiso University. I have a special place in my heart for the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy, which I sang as a cantor on occasion at Valpo’s candlelight services.
- I’ve been passionate about reading and writing since childhood. At Valpo, I studied English literature, journalism and the humanities. I also worked at the writing center and the school newspaper.
- I never thought I’d work for the church. In 2008, when I graduated, paying jobs in journalism were difficult to find. The chair of the English department connected me with a job at Fourth Presbyterian Church, a large, progressive congregation in downtown Chicago. They have about 4,000 members and a full communications department.
- But the day I interviewed, I realized God was calling me to serve. I remember sitting in downtown Chicago in the office of the head pastor of the congregation and chatting with one of my future colleagues. I suddenly knew this was where I wanted to be, I wanted to use my gifts in writing and editing to inspire others in their faith. This has been a theme in my career ever since. I spent five years working for this church.
- The first few years I lived in the city, my husband and I had trouble finding a Lutheran church. We found my current congregation, Resurrection Lutheran Church, through good friends. Resurrection was a lifeline for me in the city, it’s where I grew in my faith as a young adult and met close friends. I became very involved in our young adult ministry and started a Bible study with my friends. We continue to meet today and that has been such a blessing in my life.
- While at a Bible study one evening, I met ELCA Bishop Hanson. When I told him I worked for the Presbyterians, he said, “Why don’t you come work with us?” I laughed him off, but I didn’t realize his voice was the Holy Spirit calling me again.
- A few months later I found a job posting to work in communications for the ELCA. I applied, praying they’d consider me for an interview. That was nearly five years ago in March.
- Since seventh grade, I’d dreamed of working for a magazine, but one that mattered. I’ve been through two department restructures since starting at the ELCA and I honestly feel like I’ve landed in my dream career.
- Faith stories are the best stories. I’ve interviewed a woman who was baptized at 100-years-old, a pastor and roller derby announcer, veterans, liturgical dancers, teens at ELCA Youth Gatherings, 30 millennials on why they’re still attending church and more. It’s a privilege to amplify voices across this church who are living out their faith through service to others. I’m grateful every day that my job allows me to express to others the healing, transformative power of God’s grace.