The Rev. Dr. . Nancy R. Birdsong will begin her ministry at Southminster Presbyterian Church, Centerville, on October 1, following a vote by the congregation on July 16 to extend a call to become the church's new Pastor/Head of Staff.
Nancy grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and has been a part of the Presbyterian Church since she was baptized as an infant. Her childhood included spending part of every summer at a Presbyterian camp, where she particularly enjoyed the mudslides, whitewater canoeing and hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
At the University of Virginia, she was in the pre-med program while majoring in English and minoring in psychology. Her first stirrings about the possibility of ministry came when she was working at the UVA Hospital emergency room and realized that she was the primary person whom the staff sought out to offer comfort to people who were frightened, in pain or grieving. While her sense of empathy and compassion had always been strong, she began to think that perhaps God wanted her to use these gifts in ministry. After beginning the in-sequence Masters/D.Min. program at Union Presbyterian Seminary with some major doubts about having what it takes to be a pastor, her year as an intern reaffirmed her feeling that the Spirit of God was calling her into parish ministry.
After seminary, Nancy served as an Associate Pastor in Indiana and in Pennsylvania and then at The Presbyterian Church in Geneva, NY, where, among other things, she led the youth programs, mission trips and the area community lunch program.
Nancy is currently serving as the Pastor/Head of Staff at The Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook, NJ, where she has helped the congregation to heal from a previous difficult situation while moving forward in a positive direction. She is passionate about mission and has led congregations and communities in numerous new mission endeavors-locally, nationally and globally. A few years ago, she helped the Bound Brook church to develop Kids' Connection, a program and free dinner for area children who are at risk for being lured into gangs.
In addition to particular mission projects, she began involving congregational members of all ages in an annual day of service in the community called The Church Has Left the Building. On that Sunday, the motto is Don't go to church. Be the church. Recently Nancy facilitated a new partnership between the Bound Brook church and the Presbyterian Church and school in Grenada, West Indies.
Nancy's experience in global peacemaking and conflict resolution include a PC(USA) trip to Bosnia and Croatia in the wake of the Yugoslav wars, leading the first PC(USA) Kids Care team into Kosovo to work with traumatized children near the end of that war, being part of a peacemaking team in Hebron in the West Bank and accepting an invitation to be part of a UN-sponsored Global Peace Initiative of Women in India.
With all of her relatives now living in Germany, Nancy is particularly grateful for Skype and free international phone service! Nancy is an artist whose works have been displayed in professional galleries and exhibits. While the demands of ministry in recent years have limited her time for painting, she still finds it to be nurturing to her spirit. She also enjoys music, poetry, drama and "anything creative." Her favorite vacation destination is anywhere that lets her swim in the ocean, walk along the shore and smell the salt air.