Ministry

Soon after graduation, Sarah (Mather) Lyon ’48 married fellow UPS graduate Robert Jay Lyon.  After Robert’s ordination as a Methodist minister, Sarah writes, “he served as an active pastor for 40 years, during which time I supported him as an active pastor's wife.  My other degree at UPS was in Music, so I served however I was needed in the churches he served, as well as giving piano and organ lessons.” In retirement, Sarah has continued to be engaged with history, “especially Genealogy and Family History: I seem to be the family historian and archivist.  I have written several sketches of our ancestors,” Sarah writes, drawing on the 50-plus binders full of old family documents and photographs she has compiled.

June Fothergill ’78 has served for 30 years as a pastor in the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church, and currently is pastor of Ebbert United Methodist Church in Springfield, Oregon, where she oversees a meals ministry that serves over 200 meals a week.  After graduation, she writes, “I took my first full time job at Sunnyside United Methodist Church in Portland, OR as a Church Community Worker and part of the US-2 mission program of the church.  After those two years I took graduate Social Work classes at Portland State University and then decided to go to seminary and pursue a calling to serve as a pastor.  I graduated from Pacific School of Religion with an MDiv degree in 1985 and have served United Methodist Churches in Oregon and Idaho ever since.”  June has put the writing and critical thinking skills she learned at UPS to good use, and continuing to do historical research as a way of better understanding the churches she has served.  She reflects that participating in the Pac Rim program at UPS “has given me a global perspective to my life and work.  I think the study of history, especially the history of cultures different from my own has given me a broader, less judgmental perspective that helps me deal with a diverse world, diverse human perspectives and do so with a sense of delight and openness. “ 

Michael Smith ’02 writes, “I followed up my undergraduate work with some full time youth ministry volunteering, philosophy studies, collegiate ministry internships, a Watson-fellowship-like trip around the country, and finally earned my MDiv at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, CA.” Now Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry at a Catholic parish in San Francisco, Michael values the opportunity to “help students and their parents reflect on their deepest values and how they will love those out in their specific social, political context,” and enjoys “exploring the historical context of the Catholic religious tradition.” Michael draws on his historical training to contextualize everything from Bible readings and church documents to statements in the popular press.  “My UPS training helped me to recognize the argument and evidence (or lack thereof) in a text, and helped me gather and articulate my own.  This is crucial in passing on the propositions of the Catholic faith as well as in developing the strategies and methods for sharing that same tradition.” He urges current students “ to pay attention to the religious currents and traditions in every era they study.  We ignore religion at our peril.  An uneducated religious faith or an uneducated rejection or disrespect of religious faith leads to extremism and increasingly violent conflict in our society.”