6 Questions and a Cup of Coffee with Diane McGeoch
I lived in four different states during my childhood years - Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Massachusetts. The one constant in my life was the church. It was and is where I feel a strong sense of community. During the moves in my childhood, I was always the new kid in the neighborhood or in school, and it took awhile to make connections and friends. The various churches I was a part of practiced welcoming and hospitality in ways that meant a lot to me. I felt affirmed in my gifts, and supported in my faith journey. Hospitality is a big part of my life and ministry today. I've lived in several different places during my adult years - Connecticut, Maryland, California, and Idaho. Each place and the congregations I have been a part of continue to influence me.
1. Can you describe your call to ministry?
My call to ministry happened slowly over time. I was always involved in church; it was where I felt most at home. My pastor in high school encouraged me to try some leadership positions within the church.
I chose a church-related college - Gustavus Adolphus College - and it was there that I first sensed I could serve the church in some way. My service to the church has been in a wide variety of roles. I was a youth ministry volunteer for several years before I received my first paid position in the church. The paid positions led me to being an Associate in Ministry. I am now a deacon in the ELCA. There have been a lot of in-between times and a lot of waiting. I waited nine years for a call as a deacon. Several times when my position was cut from the budget or I was looking for a new position, I questioned my call. Other people always reaffirmed my call, when at times the circumstances made it tough to live out that call.
2. What is the best part of your ministry now?
The best part of my ministry now is the collaboration. I do not serve a congregation. I serve as the Coordinator of Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids in Nampa, Idaho. Learning Peace is a four-day camp held every July for children ages 6-13 focusing on peace-making skills. It is a free camp, so requires a lot of commitment from area churches and community organizations. The camp came about because of conversations between individuals at several different churches, which led to connections and intentional partnerships. We need collaboration to be the best we can be. One or two churches couldn't do a camp like this. Five churches and some community organizations can do it and work together to
make it happen.
3. Can you tell us something about you that would surprise us?
I am obsessed with all things British. I collect books on the royal family, past and present. I read a book years ago on Vicky, the daughter of Queen Victoria, who married the Crown Prince of Prussia. That got me hooked, so when I am in a used book store, I usually am looking for books on the royal family. I am currently reading a book on five granddaughters of Queen Victoria who all became queens in other countries due to their marriages. I've never been to England, but I long to go one day.
4. What are three things Christian educators should keep their eyes on?
First, look into your communities. Listen, then listen again. The church can leave the building, so to speak; we need to partner with our communities to live out the Gospel. Where can the gifts of our congregation meet the needs of our community?
Second, be a part of a network. I wouldn't have stayed in ministry without the networks, formal and informal, that I've been a part of. There are many collaborations that exist today because of one on one conversations that spread to form a network.
Third, tell a story. There are so many people who have never articulated their story of faith. They need to hear others' stories so they can recognize their own story. It is a process of discovery.
5. Can you tell us about some of your favorite resources?
We may think we are a welcoming church, but it is helpful to reflect on our practices to make sure they are welcoming. This book helps get at the why - why would we invite others into our faith communities? It also has some great how to's.
How to Mobilize Church Volunteers by Marlene Wilson
This book was published years ago, and I've used it continually in many different settings. My current ministry role requires a lot of volunteer recruitment, training, and support. This book emphasizes how to find volunteers based on gifts, and how to match gifts to opportunities.
This book is about writing a personal mission statement. It has spoken to me during several personal and professional transitions. We can create new ways to serve by understanding and articulating our personal mission statements, and sharing these with others can be a powerful experience.
6. How can we pray for you?
I want to lift up the word and service roster (deacons) and surround them with prayer. We are entering a new time in our church. There are new partnerships that didn't exist just a few years ago. Deacons like me are often the bridge builders in their congregations and communities. Prayers are needed for guidance, support, and discernment. How can deacons and all rostered ministers recognize and be led into new ways of serving? Our churches and communities are changing rapidly.
If you would like to recommend a Lutheran or others with a passion for lifelong learning for the "6 Questions and a Cup" column, please let us know!
As summer into autumn slips,
O give me grace today
To rise and turn as summer's leaves
Draw life and strength from heavenly rays.
Living Our Baptism
Some teenagers have a hard time giving up Halloween trick-or-treating. To help them with the transition, make and deliver Halloween thank-you cards to neighbors who have been generous over the years.
Find a place to serve at Thanksgiving or at other times of the year.
10 hidden benefits for young people.
Check out these and many other resources on our
CENetwork of the ELCA
P.O. Box 9304
Rochester, MN 55903
Phone messages may be left at
Christian Education Network of the ELCA
Building a community which equips, encourages and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world.
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- Identify and evaluate resources and educational opportunities
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