Trinity/Salem UMC in New Castle & Co-chair of the Campus Ministry Affinity group

This past October, I started serving in the Indiana Conference to represent Young Adults, Campus Ministries and Higher Education at the Conference Leadership Table. There are many reasons that I am passionate about campus ministries and their importance to the Conference.

I grew up as an Indiana Conference preacher’s kid. It’s not easy finding your own identity in the church when you grow up in the shadow of a minister parent. It wasn’t until I got to the University of Indianapolis that I felt able to truly discern my call and have since graduated with a degree in Social Work. At UIndy, it wasn’t long before I became active in campus ministry, chairing it my sophomore year. To lend an extra voice to religious concerns, I became the student body vice-president my junior and senior years.

At UIndy in campus ministry, I found myself going places and doing things I never expected. I worked to plan retreats and outreach on multiple work trips. One of my most memorable was when I learned to use a circular saw for the first time as we did insulation for a trailer in the cold, rainy mountains of West Virginia. I even went to Bosnia with other campus ministries students from across Indiana. There we volunteered to work at a youth house for two weeks.

My experience in Bosnia helped me decide to go on to get a masters degree at Seton Hall in International Relations and Diplomacy. Before heading east, I met my husband, Shawn, at a United Methodist Student Movement conference in Denver. We were married the summer of our college graduation.

When I couldn’t shake God’s call to ministry, I served for five years as the youth director at Edwards Memorial UMC. I currently serve at Trinity and Salem UMCs in New Castle as a local part-time pastor. Meanwhile, I’m working toward ordination by taking classes at United Theological Seminary.

I presided at my first funeral this past year while being pregnant with my daughter, Evangeline. Rather than being overwhelmed, I remembered back to my time tackling new situations at UIndy. I drew on my experiences in campus ministry. Every day, I realize more and more how well my time at UIndy’s campus ministry prepared me for the path God has set before me.

It has not escaped me that I am subjecting my children to the same fate that I had growing up as a preacher’s kid. Even though my children are small (Sullivan,7, Theo, 4 and Evangeline four months), I find myself thinking toward the future and hoping they will be lucky enough to find a place, where they also can feel free to discern the call God has on their lives.

I want to make sure that 10 years from now there will be a campus ministry to help Sullivan, just like my campus ministry helped me. For this reason, I recently volunteered to become the young adult, higher education, and campus ministries representative for the Indiana Conference and co-chair the Campus Ministry Affinity group with Jack Leonard.