Presbyterians Today

APR-MAY 2018

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10 APRIL/MAY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay JUST LIVING What does the Lord require of you? Presbyterians are answering that prophetic question, working for justice and seeking to help their neighbors in a variety of ways. Presbyterians Today shares their stories. Way and Nashville's metro government funded her position and invited Williams to stay for an additional year. The Nebraska native and Hastings College graduate found a home in Nashville and has never left. Her heart also has remained close to the Presbyterian Church and the YAV program. "I am impressed with the number of former YAVs who serve the church and not only in traditional ministry positions," she said. "YAVs aren't just the future of the church. They are the current church." —Rosemary Mitchell Couple finds warm Texas welcome When Sarah and Elizabeth Clapp considered joining Northwood Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, pastor Traci Smith knew the congregation would welcome them. The question was: How deeply? At the next session meeting, the pastor asked the elders to share stories about individuals they knew who were gay. How did other churches receive them? The accounts were diverse, and throughout all of them it became obvious that Northwood's leaders wanted to extend an unconditional welcome. It was a sacramental moment, illuminating the truth that listening is hospi- tality made flesh. When the Clapps joined, they immediately expe- rienced this inclusion. It was especially gratifying for Sarah, who grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition and attended a conservative nondenomi- national Christian school for 13 years. She looks back on that time with mixed emotions. "There are so many negative things I could say. They were hypocritical, judgmental, rich, white, 'know-it-all' Christians. But there were also many posi- tives. That school grounded me in my faith," she said. Ex-YAV finds faithful calling in pancakes Samantha Williams' passion for her organic pancake- mix business is not driven solely by entrepreneurial ambition. It is also fueled by her sense of Christian vocation, which began to form more than a decade ago while she served as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV). Williams and her employees mill Sunday Morning Pancake Mix in the kitchen of Woodland Presbyterian Church in Nashville. They make a nutritious nine-grain product, and Williams insists on a process that reflects integrity, from ingredient procurement to packaging and marketing. Most of her employees are women who are coming out of homelessness. A Presbyterian since high school, Williams brings the values she learned in congregations and the YAV program into her vocational identity. However, she learned that vocation is "not just about stuff you get paid to do, and it is not just about religious positions in the church." For example, she says, her vocation extends to her role as a parent. She and her husband, Brian, are raising two elementary-age boys. "Finding your call in the world can include raising your children in a way that represents your values and your faith," Williams said. In her pancake mix business, Williams combines her calling to work for food justice and for an end to homelessness. She notes that the business produces a "healthy, sustainable, alternative" product and provides income and employment experience for women striving to overcome homelessness. Williams first arrived in Nashville in 2004 as a newly commissioned YAV. Based at Second Presbyterian's YAV site, she ran a free tax preparation program for low-income families that grew from three sites to 12. After she finished her YAV year, the local United Former YAV Samantha Williams has created an organic pancake mix business, employing local women striving to overcome homelessness. Sarah and Elizabeth Clapp and daughter, Samantha, found not only a church home but a community in which to learn and grow together. COURTESY OF THE CLAPPS COURTESY OF SAMANTHA WILLIAMS

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