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About Me

Here’s the short version of my story; you can read more below if you like.

“Everything is preparation” is the guidance passed to me from a Lutheran colleague. I am a second career minister who brings all of my life and work experience to ministry. As a social worker and administrator, I have been with people across the lifespan in all kinds of circumstances, both joyous and challenging. I am grateful for the loving support of my husband of 35 years, my family, and my friends throughout my life and as I’ve answered a call to ministry in mid-life . It is from my life experience that I bring these themes to my ministry: interconnection, justice, beauty, and love.

My family at my ordination. Standing: Jacob (nephew), Kathie (sister-in-law), Meridian (niece), Greg (brother), Aunt Patsy, Uncle Dale, Mark (brother). Seated: Bob (step-dad), Karen (Mom), Rev. Mary, John (spouse), Jerry (Dad).

I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on my father’s 20th birthday. My mother turned 20 three weeks later. Over the next few years, our family expanded to include my two younger brothers, Mark and Greg.

I was raised in my family’s Lutheran congregation in the Midwest, attending Sunday school, singing in the choir and serving as an acolyte. I finished confirmation classes, took my first communion (to please my beloved grandmother), and then declined to attend church any longer, questioning the church’s beliefs and my own.

We all lived together in Western Michigan until my parents divorced when I was almost 15. My brothers remained with my Dad in Michigan, while my Mom and I moved to Madison, WI, where I completed high school and college.

In a freshman chemistry class at UW-Madison, I met the man who has been my husband for almost 35 years. John was in college on an ROTC scholarship and so we were a military family for the first five years of our marriage. We moved a lot then and have moved across the country several times on our own since.

I remained un-churched as a young adult until John & I discovered our first UU congregation in 1989 when we lived in a very conservative town in Eastern Washington. The UU church was the only game in town if you were a liberal. We have been members of three UU congregations over the past 30 years. We both value the community and find connection with each other through understanding the larger connection of all things.

Ministry is a second career for me.  I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and worked with people of all ages for over 20 years, from teenage parents to elders at the end of life.  The skills I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had have shaped who I am and will inform my ministry.  If you are interested in my work experience, you can access my resume here.

In December 2011, I applied for and was hired as the Music Director at UUCS, the first paid music staff at the church.  My skills were stronger in administration than music, so I went about learning more about music and choir direction.  I have come to understand and appreciate Music Ministry, and this helped lead me to ministry as a career.

I heard the call to ministry first in 2001, carried on the wings of a cardinal.  As I was sitting outside in Michigan one Summer day, writing in my journal as I reflected on my purpose in life, a bright red cardinal flew by, and these words came to my mind and lips: “I want to be a minister.” The death of my best friend, Jean, in 2010 that led me to re-evaluate my life journey and purpose again.  The death of my Godmother, Marcie, in the Summer of 2013 that helped me hear the call to ministry again and step fully into that call.

Mark, Greg and me with our godmother, Marcie

My mind and spirit grew and deepened as I answered the call and pursued the path to ministry.  I completed my Master of Divinity degree at Starr King School for the Ministry.  I enjoyed both of my ministerial internships, a parish internship at First Unitarian-Portland and a clinical pastoral internship at the Oregon State Hospital.  I was honored to serve as the first minister for the UU Fellowship of McMinnville, OR.  I have learned so much about transition and change as the Acting Assistant Minister at First Unitarian-Portland.  I look forward to where the path leads next. 

Starr King School for the Ministry graduating class of 2017 with faculty

John and I currently live in Salem, OR where we share our home with the latest of the many cats we’ve loved. I enjoy gardening, cooking, reading, and walking in my neighborhood. 


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