“Minister” is a word that entered the English language from French (and, ultimately, from Latin) in 1250-1300: it means servant. For many years, I have been a servant — a lay leader and volunteer minister — in Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Episcopal, and Evangelical Covenant as well as non-denominational churches. I’ve served as a preacher, teacher, small group leader (for women, graduate students, and artists), worship team member (as vocalist, flutist, percussionist, praise dancer, and tech support), choir singer, and stage designer. In children’s church, I’ve served as a teacher, worship leader, and choir director as well as Vacation Bible School (VBS) leader. I’ve also served as a midwife and medical missionary in Uganda and the Philippines. I’ve most recently been serving at Purpose Church in Pomona, California.
I was raised in Martinez Open Bible Church (now Creekside Church), where my father was a youth minister, my mother was the director of children’s church, and I was an actress in the Christmas plays my mother wrote and a singer in the children’s choir she directed! I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was five, was filled with the Holy Spirit when I was eight, and was baptized in water when I was ten. I went on my first missions trip to Mexico with Santa Rosa Open Bible Church when I was fourteen years old, where I was my father’s translator.
When I was an undergraduate at Sonoma State University, I was a part of SSU’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. When I was a graduate student at UC Davis, I joined Chi Alpha Christian Ministries (now Davis Christian Fellowship) on campus and Davis Christian Assembly (DCA) in town. I provided tech support to the Chi Alpha worship team and led a small group for graduate students. For church, I hosted a women’s Bible study — one that grew and grew! — and I served on the worship team and in the children’s ministry. Later, I served for a full year as a children’s church teacher and worship leader at Church on the Hill in Vallejo — an experience I wrote about in “Let’s Value Our Children,” which appeared in the Vallejo-Times Herald.
When I was a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, I had a variety of ministry roles at the college and in the community. Through the HNGR (Human Needs and Global Resources) program and the Office of Christian Outreach Summer Missions Program, I provided on-site supervision to undergraduate students serving as international interns in NGOs and para-church ministries working to stop human trafficking in Moldova, Eastern Europe and Ghana, West Africa. I also served in Wheaton College’s Graduate Student Ministries and coordinated fall term services for the English Department.
In the Wheaton community, I served as a children’s worship leader at the First Assemblies of God Church and a preacher at the Village Church. I later joined the Anglican Communion as part of Church of the Savior, where I served as a preacher and worship team vocalist, musician, and praise dancer. I led a women’s small group in my home using the contemplative prayer practices of spiritual direction, and I spoke at local churches, on a semi-annual basis, as a Compassion International sponsor and advocate. For one year, I was a children’s church teacher, children’s choir director, and VBS leader for Church of the Resurrection. I also served the greater Chicagoland metro area as a childbirth educator, childbirth doula, and lactation consultant.
When I was a professor at Colorado Christian University, I was blessed to attend Wellspring Anglican Church in Englewood, Church of the Advent in Denver, and Calvary Church in Golden, Colorado. I also enjoyed visiting Bloom church, where the Gungors (stellar musicians!) led worship. I facilitated Epiphany Artists, an inter-church small group for Christian artists of all kinds. I served in the community as a homebirth midwife as well. While completing a Certificate in Midwifery with Mercy in Action, I served as a midwife and medical missionary to Atiak, Uganda, and Mindinao, the Philippines.
When I joined the faculty at UC Davis, I served at University Covenant Church in Davis, California. I was on the adult education team and taught in SPARKS (Sixties Plus Any Really Kind Soul), a faithful group of Christian seniors, and in Oasis, our UCC women’s ministry program. My ten-week courses for SPARKS focused on the biblical books of Psalms, Ruth, Jonah, Philippians, and Esther. I also facilitated a small group for Christian artists and served as a choir singer and stage designer.
Now that I am a professor at the University of La Verne in SoCal, I’ve attended many Los Angeles churches, including Vineyard, Mosaic (now Humanity Church), Charisma Life Church, Church of the Assumption, First Presbyterian Church of Bel-air, Granite Creek Community Church, and Purpose Church in Pomona, where I participated in a great “Rooted” small group, all while maintaining a special connection with Lincoln Hill Community Church in San Rafael in the San Francisco Bay Area. This summer, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I’m serving as a vocalist and flutist on the worship team at Mountain Bible Church. For the rest of my life, I hope to be growing in faith and serving in Christ’s Kingdom.
“The greatest among you
will be your servant.”