I believe that there is no greater gift from God than faith and family. Our spouses and children are instrumental parts of our lives. Through them we experience the love of God. Through the trials and tribulations of family, we learn to trust God and understand that not all things in our lives will be easy. And that trust and faith in God gives a greater understanding of our role in God's kingdom. My faith is not only a gift from God, but a gift from my family. I grew up in a household with strong religious convictions. My parents and grandparents were strong Christians, living their lives with a belief that there is a higher power in world. They taught me to live for the greater glory of God and his people, not myself . In a self-centered world, this lesson has served me well throughout my life.

I believe that God is present everywhere in our world, and at all times. As do many young people, I questioned my faith during my high school and college years. A liberal arts education encourages such thought processes. But while I questioned my faith, I never abandoned it. Many aspects of what I was expected to accept as a young Christian made little sense to me. Evolution was at the forefront of this period of self-exploration. My science driven curriculum brought certain facts to light. As I delved into these issues, I realized that God was right there in those scientific facts. I began to truly understand that the unbelievable creations of this world were absolutely produced by an awesome God. And through God's hands, the evolutionary changes that we see in science become reality.

I believe God calls us to help our fellow human beings. This includes all races and religions, and people of all nations. Using our spiritual gifts to help God's people is central to my faith. This begins at home, radiates through our job and community, and extends throughout our nation and world. Similarly, I believe that we should always consider the needs and feelings of other people in our decisions and our actions. Too often we only think of our own needs and feelings. I call this "living in oblivion." There is no place for this attitude in a God-centered world. Our children, now more than ever, need to be taught this principal.

Finally, I believe in the people of First Presbyterian Church being leaders of our community and setting an example of what Christian life is in Spartanburg, SC. Our community looks to us as a measure of what it means to be Presbyterian and Christian. Only by allowing the grace and wisdom of Jesus Christ to enter our hearts and guide our actions will we leave a legacy for our children that they will be proud of in the eyes of God.