Introducing Charissa Bradstreet

Dear sisters and brothers,
 
You may recall that after Fr. Brian’s curacy at Good Samaritan ended in August 2019, I began the search for a person to give leadership to our formation ministries for children and youth, as well as assist me in the pastoral and worship leadership of the parish. As the search continued and I engaged in many conversations with parishioners and did some additional research and discernment, it became clear to me that the position’s scope of work needed to be expanded to reflect a more wholistic and comprehensive approach to Christian formation in our parish. So, the position of Pastoral Associate for Formation was created.
 
In November of 2019, I met a lively, smart young lady at the Commission on Ministry’s discernment retreat. I began talking with Charissa Bradstreet about her gifts and vocational calling and how that might intersect with the leadership our parish needed now in the area of formation. After many conversations, an interview with our vestry’s youth and families work group, and the blessing of Bishop Rickel, I have extended a call to her. Charissa will join our staff on June 1, which was the projected date for the funding of a new hire in our 2020 ministry budget.
 
Charissa will be half-time through the end of the year. God willing (and the bishop, too!) she will be ordained a transitional deacon with the possibility of becoming our curate in December 2020. Charissa will work to develop the programs and guide the leaders of our children, youth, and families formation ministries. She will also work with me on adult formation programs, confirmation preparation, baptism preparation, and give leadership to the women’s groups that have been formed. We hope to strengthen ministries to parents, as well as every age group of the congregation.
 
I am beyond excited that Charissa is coming to serve at Good Sam. You will love her wit, intellect, and winsome personality. Above all, she loves the Lord and has a deep sense of calling to be a pastor and priest. Please read her introductory letter, and stay tuned for the date and time of a get-to-know you Zoom forum.
 
Faithfully,
Fr. Steve+

More about Charissa

by Charissa Bradstreet
 
Back in January, I had the opportunity to come and worship at Good Samaritan. From the time I walked through the door to the time I left I was stunned by the kindness of the greetings that I received as a visitor. I am filled with excitement as I anticipate becoming a part of the Good Samaritan community, joining you with a focus on supporting formation across all ages and nurturing your spiritual leadership skills as we all live even more deeply into our gifts!
 
This week I was facilitating a conversation with a group at St. Paul’s, where I currently intern, and was floored when one of the participants had a moment of insight. The gospel suddenly came alive for him and he put words to what he was beginning to think might be God’s call and promise to humanity (and to him). What he named struck him as almost too good to be true. At the end of the Zoom call I realized that my face was flushed with joy; I love it when learning ignites excitement about who God is and what God longs for us to see and know for ourselves, and when it motivates subtle but profound adjustments to the way we live together. As a faith community we get to be companions with each other on the journey, and midwives for insights that will be birthed as we tend to each other’s questions and explorations. My sense is that Good Samaritan has a healthy and vibrant foundation for living into big questions and tending to each other’s spiritual needs.
 
Since we can’t meet now in person, I’d love to share some things to help you get to know me. Faith was woven throughout my family’s way of engaging life. We prayed at mealtimes and at bedtime, worshipped at church every Sunday, shared openly about our day and where we saw God, and practiced hospitality by inviting people from church home for lunch. When I was five, I accepted Jesus into my heart (as a good Evangelical child does). My father ensured that my young commitment grew in knowledge, overseeing various forms of Bible study throughout my childhood. Reading books aloud created a love for narrative that now shapes how I read the Bible and preach.
 
In my twenties I joined a Presbyterian church that provided ample opportunities for theological study, often with seminary faculty. I started to see women in leadership – not something I had experienced before. At thirty I went to seminary – and was encouraged to deconstruct some evangelical assumptions and discover new ways of reading the Bible. I found it energizing. My theological and counseling studies provided a more generous understanding of the gospel and the human condition, and I felt a call toward ordained ministry. Although I came very close to completing requirements for ordination with the Presbyterian Church (USA), I eventually found a theological home in the Episcopal Church. I have been a member of Epiphany Parish since 2009, preaching, teaching, and helping lead pilgrimages to the Holy Land. I entered discernment for the priesthood a couple years ago and am concluding an internship at St. Paul’s where I have been facilitating adult formation, including a Sacred Ground discussion group on issues of race and faith.
 
I enjoy traveling, reading, painting icons, cooking, watching BBC mysteries, and writing. In 2015 I went on a group retreat in Northern Ireland to learn about the work of reconciliation in the context of the Troubles. That trip, along with my first Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, has underscored my enduring interest in the redemptive possibility of reconciliation.
I can’t wait to join you in your mission to invite all people into a life-long journey with Christ, forming them to love God and neighbor and engage the world with God’s love and grace. If you like, you are welcome to introduce yourselves by email.

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