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The Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers

The UCC’s "Marks" are both a beautiful and comprehensive roadmap for the training, evaluation, and ongoing development of authorized ministers.  While perhaps somewhat overwhelming in their comprehensiveness, I believe engaging with this tool with integrity and humility will help me document the qualities and experiences that will positively influence my ministry as well as  identifying  the skills I need to develop more thoroughly.  By working with my Local Church Discernment Committee, pastor, mentor, spiritual director, advisor, and the Committee on Ministry, I hope to create a comprehensive, realistic sketch of how I fulfill each one of the marks..


Here is my self-analysis of my relationship to the marks as it stands today, which I will continuously evolve based on my activities in the church, my own self-awareness, and the feedback I receive all the key stakeholders on my path to ministry.


Exhibiting A Spiritual Foundation and Ongoing Spiritual Practice

  • Since I was very young, I have had a daily, ongoing dialogue with God where I express primarily gratitude and wonder, and supplication for the wellbeing of others.  I call upon Jesus to remind and inspire me to be the kind of human being I want and need to be (especially when it’s difficult!), and I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, wisdom, and discernment of what the correct course is for my life and my relationships. This daily conversation gives me comfort, clarity, and direction. But more than anything else, God’s love and grace give me an enduring sense of peace and wellbeing in my life. Knowing that I am loved by my Creator helps me quiet the noise of shame and inadequacy inside and focus on loving myself and others.

  • I learned this approach as a young person by growing up in a devout Christian family and from receiving a strong Christian education, as well as through a varied set of spiritual traditions and practices as an adult, both Christian and non-Christian.

  • My more esoteric spiritual work has taught me a wide variety of other spiritual practices including meditation, sacred dance, dream work, sacred art, spiritual healing, and accessing higher states of consciousness to be closer to God.

  • I have also learned to create safe, sacred spaces and containers for others where intimacy, authenticity and trust can lead people to emotional healing, self-awareness and a deeper understanding of both their own purpose and their relationship to the Divine.   

  • I am also engaged in formal Spiritual Direction to further develop my faith and my spiritual practice, as well as working with a retired UCC pastor as a mentor, both on a monthly basis.

  • I will continue to deepen and evolve my spiritual practices over time as I hungrily learn and incorporate new ideas into my faith journey.

Nurturing UCC Identity

  • The unconditional love and compassion exemplified by Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for humankind gives Him unquestionable authority in my mind and in my heart as the sole Head of the Church. These qualities must be the guiding principles of all people in order for us to establish the kin-dom of heaven on Earth. I fully embrace Jesus’ leadership and authority, and I communicate my passion for Jesus and His gospel of love to all those I meet, both inside and outside the church.

  • In addition to growing up in the UCC, I was an active member of Black Mountain UCC in Scottsdale for four years and now First Church Phoenix UCC since October 2023, and at BMUCC was council secretary and moderator, and planned and led several worship services. On a regional level, I participated in the Southwest Conference Nominating Committee and Reconciling to Racial Justice Committee, and now on the Decentering Whiteness Task Force, contributing extensively to the conference’s work on racial justice.  I also volunteered to help plan and execute the 2024 Annual Meeting of the Southwest Conference, and currently sit on the conference's Personnel Committee.

  • I look forward to continuing and expanding my regional, national, and global participation as time goes on and currently have plans to present a national webinar for the ONA Coalition in July 2023. 

  • I have completed and was inspired by the UCC History, Polity, and Theology course and will audit it again next year, and I have a strong commitment to the core values of the United Church of Christ: continuing testament, extravagant welcome, and changing lives.

  • I also created a website for BMUCC to communicate the church’s values and activities to the community to draw new members and keep our own community informed, and I am now the community engagement manager for the First Church Phoenix UCC Facebook Group, sharing relevant messages from local, regional and national settings in order to foster a stronger understanding of the UCC within the congregation. 

Building Transformational Leadership Skills

  • I have engaged with this mark by being secretary then moderator of Black Mountain United Church of Christ (BMUCC) for three years, guiding the church successfully through major internal conflict (requiring a Situational Support Committee from COCAM-B), the retirement of our pastor and the selection and installation of a new one.

  • Using my leadership and technical skills, I led fundraising efforts in the Summer of 2023 that resulted in us being able to donate $5000 to heat relief for the elderly unhoused in Phoenix.

  • I led cooperative efforts between BMUCC and the local progressive committee to collect and donate more than 200 pounds of food to the Foothills Food Bank.

  • Though I led these efforts, they all required planning, teamwork, project management, communication, and cooperation with many people.  Not only did we achieve the desired result with these efforts, but it strengthened our faith community and people felt good about participating in these efforts, increasing their feeling of engagement with the church. Engaging directly with the unhoused people of Phoenix was inspiring and moving to me.

  • Throughout my life, I have never been afraid to witness my understanding of God’s love and redeeming power to anyone, and do so frequently and effectively, even in the workplace and among friends who are resistant to the Word because of past religious trauma.

  • Having lived in four different countries, it is also my nature to be culturally sensitive and understand the importance and nuances of culture. I have participated in many events that foster cross-cultural understanding, like the Sacred Words, Common Ground event organized by Arizona Faith Power & Light.

  • I have always been a lifelong learner and teacher. I taught Spanish to adults while still in high school, was a Spanish teaching assistant at the University of Iowa, have given numerous corporate trainings in all my companies, have helped facilitate and taught spirituality and psychology courses about dreamwork, the Enneagram, Voice Dialogue, the development of the heart chakra, personal growth and development, effective relationships, and many more. My life has always been dedicated to the education of myself and others.

  • In 2022, I taught a six-week Understanding the Enneagram course at BMUCC and helped co-teach an eight-week Dream Work course.

  • I designed a Pride Month program for First Church that took us on a journey from celebrating queer diversity, to healing from shame, to acknowledging the harm done by religious institutions, to battling hetero and gender normatively, to celebrating the accomplishments of the queer community and looking toward the future. I am also collaborating with a commissioned minister to create a course on Heteronormativity for UCC clergy and leadership.

  • I also recently completed a course on Queer Christianies, the UCC History & Polity Course, and followed a 3-part workshop on Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Spiritual Care Providers Workshop.

  • I also helped design the 9 Steps for Becoming a Racial Justice Ministryfor the Southwest Conference and created a YouTube channel to model how people can have real and transformational discussions about race.

Engaging Sacred Stories and Traditions

  • My engagement with sacred texts has been a lifelong endeavor, and I am now deepening this commitment through formal study of both the Introduction to the Bible course and Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) course via the Yale Open University.

  • Public speaking has always come naturally to me, starting as early as high school and I have always been a storyteller, perhaps due to having a father who was a trial lawyer! I've delivered four sermons at BMUCC and two at First Church, and the feedback I received, both constructive and positive, from congregation members and clergy has been invaluable, and I eagerly anticipate more opportunities to preach, learn, and grow in this area.

  • My understanding of the Christian Church's history has been enriched through the UCC History & Polity course

  • While I have experience teaching courses in academic subjects, spirituality, and psychology and corporate settings, I recognize a need to expand my skills in Christian faith formation, particularly with children, so I have joined the Children's Ministry team at First Church and gave my first lesson, which can be found in the Videos section of this site..

  • My proficiency in creating and maintaining sacred spaces is evident in my planning and execution of various events, including my own wedding, which skillfully blended UCC and MCC traditions, and other worship services that resonate with the integrity and spirit of sacred traditions, including a deeply meaningful Maundy Thursday at BMUCC in which we broke bread together during a simple meal, read scripture, and answered prepared questions about what Christ's experience that night means to each of us today.

Caring for All Creation

  • I have had a lifelong passion for animals and nature. This love is largely expressed through my care of and interactions with my cats and my garden, fostering a deep sense of compassion and respect for God's creation. I have noted that my relationship to my cats has evolved over time, and that the less control I have tried to exert over them, the more loving and affectionate they have become. I believe this to be a reflection of my learning to recognize and respect their individuality and autonomy as I have learned to be more unconditionally loving of each successive generation of beloved felines we have shared our home with. I firmly believe that we develop the qualities of the heart through the practice of caring for animals and become better Christians for it!

  • My commitment to environmental stewardship is exemplified by the practical steps my husband and I have taken to diminish our impact on the planet, such as investing in solar energy and electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint and discontinuing the purchase of single-use plastic drink containers to reduce the amount of waste we produce. We recycle religiously and regularly donate unused clothing to the unhoused.

  • Academically, my graduate work in counselor education and lifelong study of human psychology and mental health, particularly focusing on empowering individuals through self-awareness tools like Voice Dialogue and the Enneagram, has been a fulfilling endeavor that has made me more self-aware and able to care for myself, as well as equipping me to be supportive of the mental health and personal growth of those around me.

  • I lead a life that balances productivity with personal fulfillment, always conscious of the need to rest and engage in activities that nourish my soul.

  • My spiritual and personal growth is continually nurtured through engaged supervision in Spiritual Direction, complemented by the invaluable honest feedback from friends with whom I share common training and a commitment to honesty and compassion.

  • As a church moderator, I demonstrated my stewardship by responsibly managing church resources and maintaining a balanced budget, reflecting my dedication to both spiritual and practical aspects of community leadership. I had full access to church finances and managed them transparently and responsibly. I have also pledged and contributed to the church according to my ability to do so.

Participating In
Theological Praxis

  • Throughout my ministerial journey, I have earnestly engaged in theological reflection and engagement, considering it an integral part of my ministerial identity. This commitment to deep theological understanding – both through scripture and other voices through which God is still speaking – has been woven into my teaching, preaching, and leadership within the church and broader community. My theology and practice of ministry are rich and varied, but consistently aligned with the principles outlined in the UCC Manual on Ministry, ensuring that my work is rooted in the Church's established frameworks and values.

  • Most recently this has expressed itself through extensive study of the theology and ethics around human sexuality and queer theology, engaging with experts, as well as reading books and papers on the topic, taking workshops and classes, and consulting numerous UCC videos, ordination papers, trainings, and other resources in order to be able to express a clear theological and practical point of view regarding this important topic so that I can be of better service in ministering to this community. This will culminate in my delivery of a national webinar for the Open & Affirming Coalition on Ethical Non-Monogamy, Polyamory and Faith. 

  • I have begun to demonstrate an appreciation for and active participation in the ecumenical and interfaith partnerships of the UCC, recognizing the importance of diverse spiritual collaborations. I have participated in the ecumenical “Sacred Stories, Common Ground” initiative of Arizona Faith Power & Light, and frequently engage in interaction and dialogue with people of all faiths and beliefs. I look forward to continuing to do this.

  • My exposure to and appreciation of a variety of Christian theological perspectives and other faiths and spiritualities has significantly enriched my spiritual understanding and practice.

  • In all aspects of my ministry, I will strive to embody the UCC Ministerial Code, upholding its principles and ethics as a guiding force in my ministerial life. I will consciously and thoughtfully covenant with God, self, family, the UCC and my chosen ministry setting to ensure I honor the needs and integrity of each party with which I am in covenant.

Working Together for Justice and Mercy

  • Drawing inspiration from the ministry of Jesus Christ, I have been steadfast in confronting injustice and oppression in various facets of life, working for LGBTQ+ rights, a woman’s right to choose, racial justice, the care of the unhoused and many other causes.

  • My approach to ministry is deeply rooted in the radical hospitality of God, welcoming and embracing all individuals and their identities. I see and honor both our common humanity and the unique story within each person.

  • Having experienced religious discrimination based on my relationship orientation, I know the pain of bias in the church. I have actively identified and worked to overcome both explicit and implicit biases within myself, and through my racial justice and heteronormativity work within the Church, I am working to foster a more inclusive and equitable community. This includes having taken the Sacred Conversations to End Racism class with the Rev. Dr. Velda Love, as well as reading numerous books and listening to podcasts on racial justice. At work, I am an active member of my company’s DEI committee.

  • Having gone to a church for four years that was considerably more conservative than I am, I realize the importance of understanding the context of the community I serve. During that time, I worked patiently but methodically to create change and increase the congregation’s capacity to understand others with greater compassion, ensuring that such transitions were reflective of the congregation’s collective values and their ability to undergo change at a pace that worked for them.

  • My commitment to mission and outreach has been evident in the various initiatives and programs aimed at serving broader societal needs, like providing cooling stations for the unhoused, gathering food for those in need of food assistance, and our supporting our growing population of asylum seekers in welcome programs. I have also been a regular donor and volunteer to Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest in support of their programs.

  • Even when it has been difficult, I have focused on building relationships based on mutual trust and interdependence, recognizing the strength and impact that collaborative efforts have in achieving greater justice and mercy in our world. I now know myself well enough to realize that I have a strong personality that does not always interface easily with other strong personalities, so I have learned to soften, find common ground, and build a foundation of common objectives in order to work effectively with all people of good will.

Strengthening Inter- and Intra- Personal Assets

  • Through a lifetime of spiritual and self-growth work, I have cultivated a healthy sense of self, shaped by rigorous study and the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, the supportive community around me, and my rich life experiences living in four different countries. I have learned to the difficult emotional work of being accountable for my reactions to things, and am always willing to listen, reevaluate, and change my views and my feelings based on new insights from others or from working with myself.

  • This self-awareness is integral to living in covenantal accountability with both God and the Church, ensuring that I am open to correction, change and feedback, but also willing to stand steadfast in my core values.

  • I evaluate my moral character and personal integrity by Jesus’ great commandment, using love as my guiding principle in all things.  Practicing unconditional love and compassion enables me to meet any person where the are at, regardless of their different cultures, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, or stages of life, recognizing the unique needs and perspectives that come with each individual.

  • My communication skills, honed through years of teaching, marketing, and leadership, have been pivotal so far in effectively conveying messages of faith, hope, and compassion to the congregations I’ve served. These skills have also been instrumental in leading the church council through multiple difficult times, and facilitating open, honest, and meaningful dialogues within the church community that lead to positive change.


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.


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