The Open Door Deacons for 2017-18
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been involved with the Open Door since it was just talked about as a second service at Bellefield Presbyterian Church. It’s been very interesting to have been on this journey with this community over the years.
I’ve worked a variety of jobs in my short 35 years on this planet, from a lifeguard, to a barista, to a parking lot attendant and valet, to some retail jobs, to a commercial fisherman, to construction and handyman work. The construction and handyman work is the only habit I haven’t been able to shake in the past 15 years though. I currently find myself running a small company with my father in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.
I don’t get outside as much as I used to, but at one point I was a camping/backpacking/kayaking/rock climbing/skiing/mountain and road biking/slack lining/just being outside fiend. I feel like that is still part of my identity and being active outdoors is something I am definitely passionate about still and I’m trying to figure it out back into my life as a “real adult”…. Whatever that is.
The past few years of my life have been a very transformative time for me spiritually. I grew up in the church, really became a believer in high school, and I have been growing in fits and spurts ever since. One thing that I have found to be a constant, looking back after it has been pointed out to me by others is that I love to serve. I love to roll up my sleeves and dig in and get stuff done. And my perspective of service has been shifting to a more holistic view of not just doing things for people, but helping to care for and nurture people as well. I enjoy teaching people skills or imparting knowledge that I have, and part of teaching is nurturing other people as well, which I find immense joy in, too.
The ways that I have seen the open door grow as a community and transform people and BE TRANSFORMED by people is amazing. I really feel that at our heart, the open door is completely centered around God and the work of God in us and through us as a community and as individuals. I never really know what to expect around the bend other than God’s faithfulness. I would pray that our faith community continues to grow and strive to be more like Jesus and live out His teachings as we navigate the terrain of societal demands, race relations, and the socioeconomic realities of not only our faith community, but the larger communities of neighborhoods, the city, and the region in which God has placed us.
My husband Nate and I have lived in Pittsburgh for about 5 years. I work as an accountant for a construction company in Lawrenceville. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our dog, running, or doing something outside. After attending a few different churches in the neighborhood, we settled on The Open Door about 2 1/2 years ago.
I recently have felt a draw to become more involved in The Open Door, so when I was asked to discern becoming a deacon, I was excited for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to serving our church in whatever ways I can, whether that be using my financial abilities or organizational skills.
My hope and prayer for our community is that we will continue to meet the needs of our surrounding neighborhoods while striving to grow closer to the Lord, both individually and as a community.