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Father Ed passed away while Rev. Amy was in High School. Not long after, her family moved to a downtown Rochester, NY, congregation. Rev. Amy says the church family there was, “a small, mixed congregation of everything from seminary professors to homeless folks.” There, she was again affected by the ministry – both physically and spiritually – and is still affected by the experience.
It was during college that Rev. Amy felt an increased pull towards ordained ministry. A critical turning point in her future came during the last year of her undergraduate studies. Originally, she was headed for a Ph.D. in Anthropology; however, needing to fill one more requirement, she chose to take an “Introduction to New Testament” class over an art class. She says about that choice, “That decision changed my life. It was during that course that I read the gospels in their entirety for the first time… I was completely taken by the life and work of Jesus Christ.” After receiving her undergraduate degree, she decided to attend Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. There, she ended up receiving a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies. Following that, she received her second Master’s degree – a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Due to a significant amount of female ministerial candidates in the Episcopal denomination in Rev. Amy’s home area of Rochester, she decided to investigate the United Methodist Church as an option for ordained ministry. In 1989, she became a United Methodist, and in 1990, she became a United Methodist pastor (having finished her Master of Divinity). In 1991, she was ordained a Deacon, followed by ordination as an Elder in 1993.
As a minister, Rev. Amy has seen a wide variety of congregation sizes, ages, and social statuses. About this, she says, “all of these good Christian souls have inspired me.” She is welcoming towards both traditional and more contemporary styles of worship, though she trends traditional. She also prefers to follow the United Methodist Book of Worship as a guide for planning services and she says, “I do feel that good liturgy, preaching and teaching is critical to the local church.” Rev. Amy has also learned, by way of studying for a doctorate, “to look beneath the surface of congregational life in striving to understand why congregations are the way they are.” Rev. Amy sums up her strengths as a minister in this way:
My greatest gifts in the local church are easily worship, teaching and preaching. I am a very strong biblical preacher, and seek to make the scriptural message relevant to contemporary life. I enjoy visiting hospital and home-bound church members, and relating to a variety of age ranges. I enjoy training and enabling laity to live out their God-given gifts and graces for service to God, the local church, and the world. I also enjoy having fun with my church members, studying the [B]ible with them, and working alongside them in a spirit of resurrection joy.
Rev. Amy has a close-knit family consisting of her husband, Denny, two daughters, Sarah and Ellen, her parents (on the Eastern Shore), and her sister, Ivy, and family in Virginia. She also has several animals – some rescued – including dogs and horses. She enjoys books, classical music, needlepoint, piano, and talking with God. She leaves us with this: “Mine has been a good life thus far, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to its newest chapter, as I seek to live out, with my people, service to God, Christ and Christ’s Holy Church.”
May we join with Rev. Amy in ministry to each other and the world in God’s name!