The Open Door Deacons for 2019
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 started attending the Open Door in 2015 when my husband and I got married. I was initially reluctant to leave the familiarity of a larger, more traditional Presbyterian church, but quickly felt embraced by the intentionality and vulnerability at the Open Door. This community embodies the love of Christ through the collective craving for depth and Truth in relationships, an outward focus and yearning for social justice, and love for the environment—and that feels like home to me.
Myself and my wife Morgan have been a part of the OD since moving to Pittsburgh in February 2011. Since then I’ve been active in the life of the church in various capacities, including coaching soccer, youth mentoring, previously serving as a deacon, and as a participant in the World Christian Discipleship Program. The discipleship program has had a lasting impact and continues to influence my day to day life with the incorporation of simple but meaningful contemplative practices. In the last 2 ½ years our family has doubled in size, and we have had our hands full with our 2 kids, Behr 2 ½, and Lucia 1 ½, who are about 11 months apart. We enjoy going on walks and meal times together, although it’s pretty routine for more food to go all over the place, than into our kids’ mouths. Thankfully we’ve got a dog that works double as a vacuum cleaner.
I’m Currently a nurse at the Children’s hospital, here in Pittsburgh and in school to be a nurse practitioner. With starting school, I was able to cut down my work hours and spend more time on school and with my family. This also afforded me the flexibility to serve as a deacon.
We are so grateful to the Open Door community and how they have walked with us through times of joy, sorrow, growth, and opportunities. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to give back and serve the church as an active deacon again.
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.
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.