Within the great Presbyterian tradition of being baptized as an infant and confirmed at age 12, I have no memory without the Church being part of my life. My faith journey has been shaped by having been raised in a very comfortable home with supportive parents who were guided by an abiding Christian (and Presbyterian) faith. Certainly, I went through grade school, high School and college with more of a rote understanding and relatively loose commitment to the Church and all things spiritual. Memory overflows with nearly sixty years of vivid examples of great individuals who, through their lives of Christian service—be it teaching Sunday School. Vacation Bible School, advising junior and high school youth, teaching adults in Bible Study, or answering numerous callings from God to serve in any number of ways—have offered to me a demonstration for how to live in communion with God and in service to Jesus Christ.
As a college student of the 1970s, my Christian faith may not have waned, but active participation in the organized church certainly did! Especially in that era, my college experience at Wofford brought numerous opportunities to “question everything,” a challenge with which I have continued to wrestle over time all the way to the present. I believe that answers to difficult questions are seldom easily found, that “absolutes are almost never absolutely true or 100% right, and that the scriptures often lead us to appreciate that there is a high level of mystery associated with life on Earth. But, perhaps most importantly, I am comfortable with the mystery and uncertainty, understanding that the limitations of human understanding prevent us from seeing things in the same way as God would see them. As Tom and others have taught, I firmly believe that we Presbyterians, and certainly I, do not have a corner on the truth! Only God has all of the answers.
I am firmly rooted in belief in the Triune God: of the sovereignty of God the Father, the grace of Jesus Christ the Son who died for the salvation of all of humanity, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. I accept the authority of the Holy Scripture, recognizing that with human translation of the ancient text comes the opportunity for varying interpretations and understandings. To that end, I greatly appreciate and affirm the Presbyterian concepts of freedom of conscience and mutual forbearance. Those concepts have never been more important than they are in today’s world.
As an adult for forty years, I have embraced the sense that so much of our lives revolve around discerning and responding to a sense of calling. I believe that we all must be open to God’s call to various and evolving roles of ministry and mission at different times in our lives. For me. I believe I have been called to serve in a variety of roles as an officer of First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg, as well as to serve my employer and community through a life of Christian servant leadership, sharing my time, talents and treasures to better build God’s kingdom in this place.