I grew up in Clinton, New York—“a nice place to live,” according to the village welcome sign, which it was. As a child I was an avid reader, Broadway musical and Gilbert & Sullivan lover, and cross-country skier. I loved being a short walk from Hamilton College, where I ushered for plays and apprenticed at the summer theatre.
I majored in religion at Princeton University (though I took as many English courses as possible); received a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York (where my thesis, A Novel Approach to Spirituality, explored the effects of literature on seminarians’ faith development); and earned an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. (My unpublished young adult novel will remain that way, but I still enjoy writing fiction in my spare time.) Between college and seminary I spent a year teaching English in Hong Kong.
After seminary I landed a “temporary” job at an adult home working with formerly homeless, mentally ill seniors. I signed on for three months, but I fell in love with the work, convinced my Committee on Preparation for Ministry (of the Utica Presbytery) that this was my call, and in 1996 the Presbytery of New York City ordained me to a validated ministry with West Side Federation for Senior Housing. I simultaneously served as parish associate at Rutgers Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side.
For many years, I have also been a freelance editor with Publishers Weekly, reviewing children’s, young adult and religious books, a labor of love that I thoroughly enjoy. I currently serve on the executive board of Morningside Retirement Health Services and volunteer with the parents’ associations of my children’s public schools. I met my husband, Jim Ellis, a psychotherapist, at Union: my last year in the master’s program was his first year in the PhD, and we started dating three weeks before I graduated, which meant that even though I hadn’t intended to stay in New York City, I’m still here.
We live with our teenage children, Cullen and Lucy. A long walk in the park, a good yoga class, meals with friends, vacation time with extended family, a novel I can’t put down, my beloved cat Star, and time with my husband and children are some of the many things that enrich my life.
It is my privilege and joy to oversee FAPC’s pastoral care and outreach ministries, and to work with such dedicated laity and staff. The opportunity to serve this spirit-filled, diverse, passionate and committed congregation is a true blessing for me, for which I am very grateful to God.
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