Katherine Willis Pershey, Interview #175

Name: Katherine Willis Pershey

Where you live: Western Springs, Illinois

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 

I’m the associate minister of First Congregational Church of Western Springs and a writer. I just published my first book, Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family.

Your two favorite books

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Sensual Orthodoxy by Debbie Blue.

Your two favorite songs: 

Beautiful Change” by The Innocence Mission and “Jesus in New Orleans” by Over the Rhine.

Why you are interested in spirituality? 

The biblical witness that we “live and move and have our being” in God resonates with me. In the same way that I try to pay attention to my daughters’ growth and the turning of the seasons, I also long to pay attention to this God who is love and home and radical presence.

Your favorite quote:

“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Your favorite web sites: 

GoodReads (GoodReads.com) and The Young Clergy Women Project  (www.youngclergywomen.org).

Your hero?: 

I haven’t really thought of her as a hero, but I’ll say Fidelia Gillette, who was one of the first women ordained to serve as a minister. She’s the inspiration for Fidelia’s Sisters, the publication of The Young Clergy Women Project. I am deeply grateful to all the women who had the courage and vision to hear and respond to God’s call. I have it incredibly easy as an ordained female minister, but this has not always been the case.  

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 

How to pray. I’m a beginner, always a beginner, when it comes to prayer.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?” 

I have felt spiritually connected in the sanctuaries of the congregations I’ve served as a minister. There’s no place I’d rather be on a Sunday morning but in church, worshipping God with my community of faith.

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