Throughout the Easter Season we will highlight Shallowford staff members in an effort to build community and educate our church family. This week we are excited to share Rev. Catherine Foster’s responses with the SPC community!
Staff: Rev. Catherine E. Foster
Position: Associate Pastor for Mission & Discipleship
No two weeks are ever the same, which is one of my favorite parts of my job! Typically, I visit two different adult Sunday School classes on Sunday morning, and then focus on weekday adult education offerings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Collaborating with mission partners changes week to week—one month a diaper drive, the next canned goods, the next virtual volunteers.
My colleagues often describe my working as keeping a lot of plates spinning. With six Sunday School classes, four small groups, and seasonal special offerings, I’m regularly in touch with SPC’s educators—making sure everyone has curriculum and teachers and planning for short-term events. The church has 10 mission partners, each with an SPC Liaison and Mission Representative. It takes a lot of folks to make sure our Food Pantry is staffed, LaAmistad students have tutors, Habitat House has builders. My goal is to have SPC members out on the front lines serving, which means I’m working behind-the-scenes coordinating to get information, opportunities, and resources right where they need to be.
“The Loaves and the Fishes” has always been one of my favorite Bible stories –not because of the miracle that Jesus multiplies everting, but because Jesus asks for what we have . . . and it’s enough. I am an organizer and a cheerleader, a teacher and a curator. I bring those gifts to ministry, but God brings a whole congregation together. Nothing delights me like hearing of a need for diapers, contacting a few volunteers, creating an Amazon wish list, and then discovering that Shallowford has come together with 80 boxes of diapers for refugee families. I’m overjoyed when a class tells me they want to learn about a topic, I get to research possible curricula, I share that resource, and then I zoom into a Shallowford member leading a fascinating class with incredibly engaging discussion. We are more than the sum of our parts, and what a joy to watch God weaving us together to create a beautiful whole.
Shallowford’s engagement of and response to Walk Humbly: A Four-Week Journey Toward Racial Understanding blew me away. Creating that program required so many of the skills I have learned in school and ministry: extensive academic research, curriculum creation, small group facilitation, and pastoral care through differences in opinion and experience. I prayed that some Shallowford members would be willing to engage the hard topic of racism with me, but I had no idea that 150 would sign up, and over 100 participate in a noon or evening small group. The racial awakening in America is changing our country, and I also think it’s changing our church. Almost 100 Shallowford members and friends participated in our Lenten program Loving Kindness: A 5-Week Antiracism Training.The Holy Spirit is forming Shallowford for important work, and I’m humbled and privilege to be a part of it.
Early in the pandemic, Catherine cleared out her dining room to create her very own workout studio! She was so glad that there were no witnesses to her taking beginning courses in tap dancing and yoga over the last year.
Catherine wants to know…
“If you could know more about the Bible, what would you want to know? Characters, Old Testament stories, Letters of Paul, how we got the Bible, what translation to read? There are so many options!”