It takes an encyclopedia to capture the range of Sarah’s passions and commitments:
Art. Composting. Gender Identity. Inter-Connectedness. Justice Ministry. Poverty. Queer Ecology. Restorative Justice. Sustainability. Theology. Watershed Discipleship.
Sarah’s commitment to justice is solidly rooted in her Catholic tradition and her family, which gave her a safe place to question religious beliefs without fear. She grew up in a small Nebraska town, and says she has been a theological thinker from a very young age. Her mother demonstrated the kind of faith that Sarah built on. For Sarah, God is in the questions.
Her family also encouraged her artistic gifts. Sarah’s father is a watercolor artist, and he encouraged her to explore her own artistic sense by covering the walls with paper for her to fill with her art. She is now comfortable painting wall murals. She is a gifted artist, currently busy with commissions for art projects in her new studio.
Sarah attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, where she triple majored in Fine Art, English, and Theology. After college, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Her first year was spent in Montana, teaching and coaching on the Crow Indian Reservation. She then moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked with people living on the street—and also met Nathan. Sarah then worked on a faith-based organic farm where she led a small restorative justice program. When she and Nathan felt it was time to commit to a community, they decided that Duluth was a better size fit than Portland.
Throughout her journey, Sarah has always been reading, reading, reading. She has learned from people in circles of inquiry, trust and sharing, seeking mentors who are pioneers in faith and justice ministry.
Sarah loves her Roman Catholic tradition, but not the barriers to women in leadership. Sarah has been fed by ecumenical circles, and sees the need for dialogue between all faith traditions. She is currently attending United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. Her hope is to be ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest—an international movement within the Catholic Church to make ordination possible for people of all genders. She does not believe that people can or should be defined by gender roles or identity. “God makes no mistakes, and we need to have imagination big enough to let people define themselves outside of boxes.”
Sarah sees her call to justice as being “rooted in my faith and being a blend between art, organizing and farming.” Reframing the question, “How do I work for environmental and racial justice?” to “How am I living an environmentally and racially just life?” has been very important to her. “I try to live out a call to ‘Watershed Discipleship’ every day, learning from our Christian stories, the land herself, and from the indigenous caretakers of that land.”
She is currently working on several projects, including a Study Guide for how to “Localize the Liturgy” and the “Confronting Historical Injustice: Moving Beyond Forgiveness” series here at Peace Church.
If Sarah could change two things about the world, “it would be that all churches would utilize their space to grow food for people experiencing food insecurity in their communities (what does the Eucharist call us to if not to feed one another?) and that all people would have Self Love.”
Currently, Sarah is reading a book called Queer Ecology, which talks about the myriad beautiful ways the natural world does not fit into boxes of dualistic gender identity and heteronormativity. “I am passionate about telling those hidden stories in my art and poetry.” That passion and commitment are at the heart of all that Sarah brings to Peace Church—and to the world.
Interviewed by Gail Blum