Pastor Heather's Introduction
My life in ministry began when I was asked to be youth director at Shelton United Methodist Church many years ago. I shared the position with a good friend, and brought my son Sam with me to youth group meetings. He was only one years old but all the kids loved having him as an unofficial youth group member.
A few years later, I was hired as staff at Shelton and it was then that I began to discern a call to ordained ministry. I had a three year old child and I was pregnant with my second son, Ben. Going to seminary seemed impossible! When I talked to my husband Eric about my call he said, I don’t want to live in a parsonage. Eighteen years later, we still haven’t lived in a parsonage!
After two years of wrestling with God, praying, hashing out the logistics,and trying to worm my way out of my call, I started a hybrid seminary degree the same year Sam started kindergarten. It would take me ten years to complete, but I graduated with my MDiv from Claremont School of Theology. Two years later I was ordained as an Elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference.
During those years in seminary, my family grew to include my daughter Sophia, adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was appointed to Shelton United Methodist Church as an Associate Pastor and then to Rochester United Methodist Church as pastor where I served for seven years.
Eric and I both began to feel a call to serve in the community of Olympia where we live and where our kids are in school. In 2018, I was appointed as a new church start plannter/innovator to the Steamboat Island area of Olympia. I learned so much about the community of Olympia, the hurts, needs, and joys of this area, and the barriers that keep people from coming to church. I look forward to sharing these conversations with you as we get to know each other.
Like parish ministry, church planting during a pandemic had its own challenges, and Eric and I began to feel a call back into congregational ministry. We continued to feel rooted and grounded in the Olympia community and discerned a call to begin conversations with our District Superintendent and the cabinet. We were overjoyed when the cabinet appointed me to FUMCO!
My boys will both be attending Western Washington University in the fall. Sam is studying history and wants to be a high school history teacher. Ben will be a freshman and thinks that he wants to study biology, like his dad. Sophia will be a freshman at Capital High School and she loves to dance and sing! She will be a part of a hip hop competition group this year and in choir at school.
Eric and I recently celebrated our 27 wedding anniversary. He is a Shellfish Biologist for the Squaxin Island Tribe. Feel free to ask him any clam question you have. He loves talking about shellfish.
When I am not parenting or pastoring, I love to read, knit, bake, and hang out with my two cats and two dogs. Eric and I hike together in the warmer months and we both love to travel. We are currently dreaming of a trip to Greece.
Pastoring is a call that came to me unexpectedly and also feels like the truest part of who I am (along with being a mom and spouse). I believe deeply in the power of love to transform the world and my most basic understanding of God is love. The community of faith is a beautiful body created by God so that we can love God, love each other, and love our world. I am so blessed that I get to do that with you!
Grace and peace,
Thank you, Pastor Heather, for sharing your story with us. We look forward to having you lead us into the future at FUMCO. Perhaps you and Eric will be able to join our First Church Friendship Hiking group!
Pastor Heather, What a lovely letter, thank you! Our church has been sponsoring a refugee family from Congo so I hope they can meet your daughter. 2 of the kids go to Capital High School. Tell her to watch for Priscilla Marijabu and Neremia Byarhuanga. They will be juniors.
I would love to talk with you about adoption some time. My husband and I have 6 adopted kids, 3 from Korea, 2 from Russia and one from China. Blessings, Becca Brandt. 360-701-0253