The Open Door Deacons for 2018-19
I was brought up in the eastern suburbs of Washington DC and became a Christian as a teenager. After getting a degree in Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, I worked for The Veterans Administration for 4 years. I left there in 1985 when our first child, Nathan, was born. I never went back to work. Instead, we followed my husband’s career, ending up in the Pittsburgh area in 1989. We built a log house in Butler County and lived there for 20 years. During all this we had six more children. Nathan’s best friend growing up was Lee Scott. Nathan left the area after graduation, but he came back to attend Lee’s ordination in the fall of 2014, just after we had moved back to the city. It was through Lee that we came to Open Door. My main interests are people, culture, politics, what makes life meaningful and how we are going to save the planet. I like to write. Anything. Letter to friends, letters to editors, letters to people in public office, stories, novels, picture books, to-do lists. Anything that will promote empathy or help me live.
I have observed through the years that many Christians of my generation are circling the wagons, trying to withstand the onslaught of change. But the church is not about preserving the past. It is about bringing the reality of the Kingdom to bear on the present age in preparation for the Lord’s return. Seeing the emergence of the next generation of Christians, as evidenced at Open Door, has given me new hope. But concerning my own gifts, Paul admonished the older women to stay out of trouble, teach the younger women to love their husbands, love their children, etc . . . But the way to gain the proximity to others that makes that possible is to serve them. I hope that whatever I have learned through my life and experiences can guide and encourage those I serve, as I also learn from their perspective.
Paul said to pray without ceasing, and to pray for those in authority. Jesus said blessed are that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. What I hope for Open Door is that there would be more prayer (maybe in small groups) for the world situation. For the displaced, the disenfranchised and the poor. For our city and our country and our leaders. For God’s mercy, for justice, and for the faithfulness of the church.
Maribeth Hagley: I have been a covenant partner at the Open Door for one year. I attend with my husband of 18 years and two daughters who are 12 and 11. One aspect I enjoy about the Open Door is its proximity to my home. This close distance allows me to be in the neighborhood worshiping where I live. Another aspect I enjoy about the Open Door is the Garfield Community Farm. On a nice day you will often find me weeding, helping with compost I pick up from Tazza D’Oro, and feeding animals. I find the GCF a place of peace in the neighborhood.
I grew up in a small town called Clear Lake, Wisconsin. And after graduating from High School went to Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. There I received a BA in Elementary Education. I’ve taught school aged kids for 5 years and then worked my way into preschool. I was a preschool teacher for 11 years. All this before moving to Pittsburgh where I now stay home and manage the Hagley home. Our girls keep our lives full of adventure. My husband and I often remark how much we love this stage of life.
My prayer and life vocation is to love people. I deeply desire connecting with those God places in my path to love and care for. Our family enjoys hosting people around our table. This always brings me joy and life. In this next stage of life I look forward to growing deeply as a community at Open Door through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Matt Redfield: I grew up mostly in the South Hills / Mon Valley, attending church too often to count. Between that upbringing and four years at Cedarville University (think Geneva or Grove City, but in some cornfields in Ohio and with mandatory chapel 5 days a week), I had what often felt like a strong faith, but sometimes felt like just going through the motions because that was what was expected of me or what everyone around me was doing. One of my college friends once said “It appears that it is often when one is on one’s own side, surrounded by allies, that it is the hardest to stand firm”… or something like that. It may not be entirely true, but it definitely has felt true at times in my journey. As such, I’ve enjoyed the challenges of living in the city for the past eight years: being forced to actively choose to engage in worship and faith community, and being faced more directly with people from different backgrounds than me on a more regular basis.
Upon my return to the Burgh in 2008, I started attending The Open Door mostly because my brother and several friends were already attending. It took me a while to get used to some of the Presbyterian practices that differed from the Baptist churches to which I’d always been accustomed, but I have never felt more welcomed (and genuinely!) than at Open Door. Despite the welcoming environment and preexisting friendships, I was still burned out from overexposure – or at least, that was my excuse for my irregular attendance – so it wasn’t until perhaps three years ago that I really began to engage more deeply with the Open Door community.
I’m not sure exactly what being a deacon at The Open Door would look like, but between my passion for music and (at least on my good days) service, I think at least part of it may center on diving deeper into the various aspects of the worship service. I’ve also been engaged in Laura Bentley’s Sanctuary church planting discernment process, and I hope to continue to support that endeavor as well as The Open Door.
Katrina Woodworth: I have been a part of the Open Door since its birth from Bellefield Presbyterian Church in 2003. At that time, my husband BJ and I were raising four small children and my primary role was supporting BJ and caring for our children, Kyra, Elena, Alex and Zach. Over the years, we have opened our house and table to share meals, pray with and build community both in The Open Door and our neighborhood. I serve on the children’s ministry team to keep up with all the new babies and growing families. I’m also a part of the prayer team, seeking to stay connected with individual and family needs and lift them up in prayer. As our two oldest girls, Kyra and Elena, have headed off to college, I have desired to serve more fully in the life of our community and am glad to join the Deacon team.
Before the Open Door, I worked for eight years with the Coalition for Christian Outreach and Bellefield Church ministering to undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, I discovered and fell in love with practicing and teaching yoga. I teach group classes at Vintage Senior Center in East Liberty. I have a little studio space in our house to offer private sessions, helping people restore in mind, body and spirit. I have completed a certificate in spiritual formation through the Transforming Center in Chicago Illinois and especially love blending the Christian contemplative practices with yoga.
Teresa Yoder: I’ve been a part of The Open Door since 2011 after moving here in 2010 for grad school. Brian and I both felt welcomed immediately by this congregation as Pittsburgh quickly became our home. We both grew up in Central PA as part of the Mennonite church but felt that we had found our community at the OD (even with all the liturgy ha).
My understanding of God has evolved over time as I reconciled my beliefs in science and faith. The full inclusion and affirmation of women (and other marginalized groups) in ministry and leadership is another cause that is extremely important to me having been raised in a more conservative tradition.
I will never forget how OD members and pastors cared for us after Piper was born in 2014, especially since we spent a week in the NICU. We were so overwhelmed by the meals, visits and prayers. It is for this reason (and many others) that I feel called to serve as a deacon for the OD. I want to give back to this faith community that has given me so much hope even during these divisive times.