On June 1st, we welcomed several new members. In today's "Spotlight" post, get to know two of them — Amy Allan and Shellie Morgan.
1. Where do you live now, and where are you from?
Amy: I currently live in Wheaton, but have lived quite a transient life including Miami, FL; Vernon, NY; Washington DC; Ithaca, NY; Columbus, OH; Syracuse, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Rochester, NY; St. Louis, MO.
Shellie: I was born and raised in Southern California (Torrance), the youngest of 4 children. After high school, I (reluctantly) moved with my parents to Illinois. We lived in Roselle, then moved to Decatur for about 9 months, and then back to Bloomingdale. After 2 winters here, my parents moved back to California! I currently live in Bartlett., where I've lived since 1987.
2. Who shares your home?
Amy: I have two amazing sons, Blake (senior at Baylor University) and Riley (junior at Wheaton College). Although we currently do not have any pets, we previously had a hilarious strawberry-loving turtle named Juanita.
Shellie: My son is grown and lives in Hoffman Estates. I am a foster for Anderson Animal Shelter, so I am kept busy with kittens during the spring and summer months. Some empty nesters turn the extra bedroom into a guest room or a den, mine is the foster room now!
3. What do you do when you’re not at church?
Amy: When I am not at church, I am likely to be found researching or writing on my Old Testament Ph.D. dissertation exploring the emotive dimensions of the relationship between Yahweh and his people in the books of Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Zephaniah. I absolutely love studying the Word of God! I am also a professional pianist and enjoy performing and teaching private piano lessons. For fun, I love to workout at the gym, explore the beauty of nature, and laugh with friends.
Shellie: I handle the business office functions in our administration department at the library (so, not a librarian!). I suppose it's not surprising that I've ended up working at a library given my love for words and books. Besides reading, I also enjoy paper crafting (card making specifically), bird watching and watching British shows online.
4. What are some favorite books?
Amy: A few of the authors who have deeply impacted my faith journey are Walter Brueggemann, Abraham Heschel, Ellen F. Davis, Lauren Winner, Scot McKnight, Anne Lamott, Carolyn Custis James, and Henri Nouwen.
Shellie: Picking a single favorite book is pretty much impossible, but I can share a few of my favorites. My long-standing favorite fiction book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I dust it off every couple of years and it's like getting together with an old friend. The writing is lovely and captivating and the storyline compelling. And who can forget the classic line, "Miss Jean Louise, Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your Father's passing". Other fiction favorites are the Harry Potter series - which covers all the bases: fantasy, adventure, friendship, good vs. evil, loyalty, trust, consequences for our actions, courage, love and sacrifice; Hinds Feet in High Places (which I just finally go around to reading recently) and then a toss up between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Great Divorce. On the non-fiction end of things, I highly recommend Just Mercy by Byran Stevenson, an eye-opener for me on our incarceration system, and Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, a story of racism and poverty colliding with faith and unconditional love.
5. What brought you back to Savior after your first visit?
Amy: So many incredible aspects of Church of the Savior brought me back after my first visit: powerful preaching, warm welcome, worshipful spirit, and a healing environment.
Shellie: The sense that I was treading on Holy Ground. The Spirit of God was palpable the first time I visited. From the beautiful liturgy, to the wonderful blend of music, to the welcoming atmosphere - it was so lovely it was all I could do to refrain from weeping with joy. The second week I attended, Alice made a point of reaching out to introduce herself and welcome me. When I went to the Paschal candle making event, Sandy Richter warmly welcomed me and made sure everyone there met me. It was clear that this was a community who cared for one another, was welcoming to strangers, and above all, loved God deeply. I knew this was a community I wanted to call home and become a part of.
6. What are your passions?
Amy: I have a tremendous passion for the oppressed – abuse survivors, immigrants, the poor, marginalized, and overlooked of society. I also deeply love studying the Word of God and worshipping.
Shellie: I am passionate about women and social justice issues. In the past I've led women's small groups, served in the human trafficking ministry, and helped put together a refuge welcome kit for World Relief.