Rev. Kathleen O. Reed
Current President, Harvard Chaplains
Faith journeys in my experience are dynamic interplays of peregrination and expedition. Expeditions are purposeful, communal undertakings. Peregrinations meander guided by flukier currents and involve serendipitous companionships. Vocationally speaking, expeditions focus on a question like, “Where is God calling me/us to go?”, and peregrinations are attentive to opportunities for gratitude in the moment. In my own story, that a Roman Catholic kid from Chicago who rejected organized religion becomes a Lutheran and a pastor to boot has been almost pure peregrination.
Over the past three decades, I have been called to serve diverse settings for which at the outset I generally felt I lacked sufficient experience or credentials. Convinced as a seminary graduate that I was destined for a lifetime in the inner city, I began in a large, affluent, suburban Connecticut congregation. From there it was rural Vermont and then a call to be the first woman to serve as an Assistant to the Bishop of the New England Synod, ELCA. Then came another suburban Boston congregation. Prior to being called in 2013 to the University Lutheran Association of Metro Boston, aka “Uni-Lu,” I served six years as Chief Development Officer of my alma mater, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (M.Div. 1980).
My steadfast peregrination companions include my partner, Stephen, and three adult children with whom I never get to sail often enough. Our household includes a cat who strikes gargoyle poses readily and a Labrador retriever named Tallis who yawns polyphonically.
I believe that the paths of expedition and peregrination converge best at tables where conversations can occur as safely and as boldly as needed. What intrigues me most about the stories of others are the unexpected turns taken where fear, trembling and grace intersect. Be in touch and we’ll find a table.