Hello! Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m very excited to be preparing to serve as your new pastor, and to see where the Holy Spirit leads our ministry together. I’m looking forward to getting to know you.
I wanted to share with you a little about myself as we begin to develop a new pastoral relationship. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, in the Episcopal Church. While in college at Yale, where I majored in biology and played clarinet in the concert and marching bands, I began to drift away from the church. I had so many questions about faith, and I didn’t know where to go with those questions. I continued studying biology at Duke, where I earned an M.S. degree. My field of study was botany/ ecology/population genetics. Afterwards, I worked in conservation biology, a field where I continued to work on and off through the years. I met my former husband when we were both graduate students at Duke, and we moved a few times as he pursued his career. This journey took me from Durham to Boston to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and then to Wilkesboro, West Jefferson, and Boone, North Carolina. This journey also took me to employment in apparel manufacturing, as I worked at Fruit of the Loom in Bowling Green and Ithaca Industries in Wilkesboro. Later, I directed a noncredit lifelong learning program at Appalachian State University.
My son, Gregory Murrell, was born in North Carolina (Dec. 2, 1999). When he was just a few years old, I started thinking I might like to find a church where I could take him. I understand now that this has been a common experience for parents who have been brought up in the faith as regular churchgoers. I also understand now that this was God at work in me and in my life, returning me to the community of faith. I had made a good friend at my work in West Jefferson (the New River Conservancy), and I went to church with her at Grace Lutheran in Boone. At Grace I discovered a welcoming Christian community, and pastors who were more than happy to hear and answer my long-standing questions about faith. These pastors were also skillful at finding ways to incorporate my gifts and interests into the ministries of the congregation. When I discovered that my marriage was not what I had thought it was, which also caused me to question much about who I thought I was, these pastors and this Christian community walked with me and my son through a painful and transformative experience. At Grace I discovered grace. For me, the Lutheran understanding of God’s grace is a compelling and life-changing discovery. God loves us, no matter what. God’s love is bigger than anything we can say or do. God has a good plan for us. God invites us to respond to this gracious love with our own gracious love – for God, for one another, and for all of God’s good creation.
Astonishingly quickly, I felt God calling me into ministry to share this love and this message of God’s grace. When Gregory was entering third grade, the two of us moved to Columbia, South Carolina, so I could attend Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. After graduating in 2012, I worked for eight months as interim part-time associate pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Aiken, South Carolina. Then I was called as pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hudson, North Carolina, where I served for four-and-a-half years before accepting this call to Trinity. I am happy to have found a spacious apartment near the church at Falls Creek Apartments, where our three cats are welcome (for a fee). Gregory is a senior at the NC School of Science and Math, and he has submitted applications to several eastern colleges where he can study astrophysics. I enjoy music, nature, and a good cup of coffee. I also enjoy studying the word of God and leading worship. I look forward to new discoveries on this journey we are beginning together!