It is unlikely that many people in the congregation can say that they got to know Jean DeVaty at a chicken stand, but she might be known by some from her days growing up in 1st Presbyterian Church here in Pittsburgh, or when she was studying at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge or perhaps as she fulfilled some of her training at the Cathedral downtown.
Shoppers be warned - you may have unknowingly met Jean
most recent position as Customer Convenience Representative (euphemism for - the complaint department) at IKEA.Jean comes to Ascension as a local with a smorgasbord of experience.
In getting to know her
you will find that she
has a passion both for this place and the insight of someone who has lived and worked in hugely contrasting settings.
In fact, one might be tempted to look at her
resume and suggest that her
career path has erred on the wandering side.Upon speaking with Jean
, however, it becomes abundantly clear that her
path, with all its zigzags, "has not been aimless."She
has not been motivated by worldly gain or human recognition.Jean
has been guided by a life-long commitment to serve God and has confidently followed His
leading in a number of different areas.
It was when Jean
was 14 that she
was first challenged by a direct call to full-time ministry.
stood around a campfire, camp leaders asked for committed Christians to consider entering the ministry.Jean
accepted the invitation as a personal one.This was a natural setting for Jean
had been attending Christian camps since she
was 9.To this day, Jean
remains deeply interested in camping experiences as they can be a ‘vital model' for how the body of Christ can work together.Jean followed God's calling and her commitment to Christian Ministry by earning a B.A. in Christian Education from Wheaton College, Illinois in 1980.She then served God in various staff roles at Ligonier Camp, Honey Rock in Wisconsin, and Deer Run Camp in New Hampshire.In the late 1980's, she returned to Wheaton to complete an M.A. in Education Ministries.While there, Jean worked as a Residence Director, Visiting Instructor, Video Librarian at Wheaton, Director of Youth Ministries at a parish in Illinois, and Editorial Art Director at Greenleaf Publishing.
There are jobs that don't even appear on the resume-such as her
stint working with a realtor in California renovating houses, a skill she
acquired working along side her
dad growing up.
An introduction to the Episcopal Church
came when Jean
was searching for a church home during her
time at Graduate School in Wheaton
.It was like ‘everything came together' in a service that combined the liturgy, Word and Eucharist.Variety sustains her
time of personal devotion.Jean
is usually up drinking coffee by 5:30 a.m. and uses this time to be quiet, read and pray.She
may do Morning Prayer for a month and then spend a week reading an autobiography of a famous Christian.Literature by the Early Church Fathers is often a source of encouragement.She
also believes very strongly in taking time to go away for personal retreats.
The call, specifically to ordination in the Episcopal Church
, was encouraged by close Christian friends and church leaders.She
does not deny that there was some stress seeking ordination as a woman, but she
does not dwell on this and points out that anyone seeking ordination will have certain struggles.In her
role as the new assistant, Jean
is looking forward to developing a ministry with the 20-30 year olds, teaching, developing her
preaching skills and getting involved with pastoral care.Having recently completed two online courses, she
is also really excited about Evangelism and World Missions.She
describes herself as an ‘adventurer' even when she
talks about work.Jean
would enjoy if people would stop by and see her
often emails but considers herself a visual person and prefers to talk in person.Luckily, visitors might find her
taking a tea break in the late afternoon.She
is known for keeping a stash of candy close by so if you want to make a good first impression you may want to contribute to her
supply.Offerings of jelly beans, m & m's and peanuts (for that sweet and salty mix) are welcome.Those keen on the outdoors could suggest meeting with Jean
for a hike, bike ride or a bit of gardening.A field trip to a museum or art gallery would also be a great way to get Jean talking.If you're planning to make Jean
a meal - no tomatoes please - it's a texture thing.