My story starts in a small town called Hookstown which is located in rural Western Pennsylvania.
Not too many people may believe that I really did grow up with horses in my backyard or that my high school really did have a “tractor day” where everyone rode their tractors to school. But for me, this rural upbringing in this small community 30 miles west of Pittsburgh really is where my story began.
Growing up in rural Western Pennsylvania was a great experience for me. My father was a health physicist and my mother was a high school English teacher and a college instructor.
In high school, I was involved in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the Boy Scout of America where I earned the rank of Eagle Scout shortly before graduating from South Side High School in 2002.
I was also involved in my church community as well and that’s where I began to feel a call into ministry. Growing up in a Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation, I was involved in many different church activities which I continued throughout my first two years of college.
After high school, I attended the Community College of Beaver County while also working part-time as a grocery store clerk. Eventually, I went on to graduate from Slippery Rock University (SRU) with a B.S. in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism. At SRU, I served two years in AmeriCorps coordinating service projects. It was also during my time at SRU that I began to discover my passion for social-justice issues which stemmed from my experience leading a community service trip to Atlanta, Georgia where we worked with the city’s AIDS and homeless populations.
After college, I decided to pursue a calling into ministry and took a big leap of faith in my life by leaving my Pennsylvania roots and my family and moved to Northern California where I went on to earn a Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) in 2013. At SFTS, I also served as a communications associate working with the seminary’s public relations department and served as a church intern at First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo. SFTS was a tremendous experience for me where I was educated for ministry and felt affirmed in my call.
Following seminary, I served as a resident hospital chaplain in Portsmouth, Virginia as part of a Clinical Pastoral Education residency program. This was a challenging and transforming experience for me as I spent a year assigned to Maryview Medical Center where I served as a chaplain in the psychiatric care and the emergency department. Later in my program, I did outpatient chaplaincy work in hospice and nursing care.
In addition to my residency program, I served as a
pulpit supply minister for a Disciples congregation in Chesapeake, Virginia and later, a Disciples congregation in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was at this same time that my sister and I established the Jeannie M. Schilling Scholarship at the Community College of Beaver
County (CCBC) where our late mother served as a college instructor. Since 2014, over 11 students have benefited from this scholarship and over $3,000 in student aid has been distributed to students at CCBC.
Following my residency, I spent almost two years working for the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive. I started my Scouting career with my the council that I was part of as a youth in the Laurel Highlands Council in Pittsburgh. And in 2015, I relocated to California a second time and worked for the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council where I served the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Scouting programs. As a District Executive, I oversaw fundraising and membership in my districts while also contributed to the program that was important to my childhood.
In June 2016, I returned to ministry and became the Minister for Community and Campus Relations at University Place Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Champaign, Illinois.
In October 2016 I became an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). And in December of 2016, I followed a call into military chaplaincy and began the process of becoming a chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve.
My life has been a journey of discovery, wrestling and witnessing God’s movement in my life and in the world. And for me, my call into ministry intersect with my passions for church ministry, community engagement, and spiritual care.
As a person of faith, I believe we have been called to be a witness to God’s love. And as a Christian, I believe we are called to be witness to the redemption we find through Jesus Christ while also advocating for equality, social justice, compassion, and peacemaking.
As a Christian, I find myself continually growing and learning in my spiritual journey while also continually witnessing the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and in our world. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am committed to a life of Christian discipleship while recognizing my own shortcomings and being reliant upon the redemptive power of Christ to overcome these shortcomings.
In Micah 6:8 we are called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. And this is what I seek to do in my life and in my call.
Promote social justice. Proclaim grace. Believe boldly. Love.