The name “Nurya” means “light of God” in Aramaic. It’s easy to pronounce: noor-yah. (Although I tend to answer to anything, including confused looks from people reading it for the first time.)
“Love” is my mother’s maiden name. Once upon a time, her family owned Love’s Bakery.
I acquired “Parish” when I married my husband. We like to share.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our family wasn’t part of any church, so I didn’t receive a formal religious education. Instead, I read… and read… and read. Madeleine L’Engle was one of my favorite authors. When I was struggling through my teenage years, her books gave me hope for the future.
I wasn’t exactly sure how that future would look. Any child growing up in Las Vegas in those days saw plenty of green lawns in the middle of the desert. I didn’t know much, but I knew this way of life couldn’t last forever. When I grew up and left Las Vegas, I learned that those green lawns were just a small symptom of a much larger problem.
As a college student, I read my mother’s copy of A Pocket Guide to Unitarian Universalism. It seemed like the UUs asked you what you believed instead of telling you. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to believe, but I was hungry for community. I wanted to know more, so I decided to visit the Unitarian Universalists.
My whole life changed that day. The minister came out to start the service, and I felt like a 2×4 had been dropped on my head. Suddenly I knew I was meant to be a minister.
It was the second time I had been to church in my life. This realization made no rational sense. But on some level I couldn’t explain, it was undeniable. Once I accepted it, I felt like my life had led up to that moment.
The Unitarian Universalist Association accepted me as a candidate for ordination, and I went to Harvard Divinity School. While I was there, I discovered the Unitarian Universalist Christians. It was apparent to me that there was something different about them. They had the spiritual depth that came from knowing their Savior by name.
I discovered Christianity at Harvard. I know it’s where most people lose their faith, but it’s where I found mine. I was baptized the year I graduated. That effectively narrowed my job opportunities from 100 to 2. But God was good. There was a UU Christian church starting in Michigan, and I was sent to be their New Congregation Minister.
I loved being a church planter. But one Sunday, I was guest preaching at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. After the service a cute guy came up to me and said, “I put together some things I thought you might like to read…”
We went on our first date a week later and were engaged six months after that. After we got married, we decided it was probably a good idea to live together. I was more mobile than he was, so I moved to west Michigan. It really is a great place to live.
I served Fountain Street Church as an associate pastor, but after four years I knew I was meant for something different. I left Fountain Street, resigned my full and final ministerial fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist Association, and started over in the Episcopal Church. Not long after, I was invited to begin discernment for ordination… and through the grace of God am now a priest in Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.
I serve Holy Spirit Episcopal Church now, and I edit Grow Christians, a blog for families practicing faith at home. (The irony is that I started that site with Forward Movement in 2015 because I didn’t feel confident at all about how I practiced faith at home with my own family.)
The cute guy and I have been married fifteen years; our two children look older every day.
In 2016, together with Mike and Bethany Edwardson, I co-founded Plainsong Farm – a new farm and ministry on the property my husband and I bought when we moved to west Michigan. That’s a long story. It’s mostly not told on this blog because honestly, I was way too busy to write it down as it was happening.
Why This Blog?
I was twenty-two years old when I left for seminary in 1993. I knew I was young, but I also knew that in my forties I would have twenty years of ministry experience. Now, I’m in my forties.
In 1993, the church seemed like a stable institution; twenty-some years later, the church is in uncharted waters. But so it has always been:
The light of Christ is eternal.
The form of Christ’s church changes from generation to generation.
Churchwork is meant to be a resource for disciples of Christ intentionally engaging the challenges of tending church and creation in the 21st century. This site is for both lay and ordained leaders; our task lists may be different, but we face the same cultural headwinds.
I came to know Christ through the thinking and practice of the mainline church: civic activists, critical thinkers, faithful Christians. I’m passionate about the future of this branch of Christ’s vine because through it, Jesus found me.
This site is my way to say thank you, thank you, thank you.
Churchwork launched on Trinity Sunday, 2013. This site is dedicated in the name of the Triune God to all whom God came in Christ to save: it is dedicated, in God’s name, to all creation.