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From Children’s Minister Carmen Kingsley

Hello! Bonjour! Hola!
Thank you St Luke’s for your warm welcome into my role as children’s minister here!  I am challenged and inspired by St Luke’s bold desire to be a powerful church, transforming lives and changing the world.  Transforming lives involves the ability to welcome new ideas and initiatives.  Since attending St Luke’s I proposed play workshops, and Upside Down Variety show and various movement opportunities during worship.  You have often eagerly participated in my proposals, demonstrating both curiosity about trying something new and an ability to adapt.
A small, close-knit Mennonite congregation in Elkhart, Indiana raised me, encouraging me to develop interest in the global church (through missionaries who visited) and peace and justice.  In college I studied Spanish, French and Peace Studies.  During that time I became acquainted with the idea of resilient groups of people.  Some researchers identified three qualities of resilient individuals: community, spirituality and creativity.  That trio of assets really interests/ intrigues me.
After college I participated in a bunch of full-time volunteer programs through Mennonite Voluntary Service, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Brethren Volunteer Service and Jubilee Partners.  Those programs sent me to Chicago, Colombia, Georgia (US) and France.  In France I worked with a community for formerly homeless people and later as assistant to a pastor in the Reformed Protestant Church (like the Presbyterian Church).  That church awarded me a scholarship to study at seminary (ISEDET) in Argentina.
My five years in Buenos Aires, Argentina involved lots of theological/ church study and a growing passion for circus arts.  Circus started with a few exploratory classes and after a couple of years I was practicing some circus discipline every day (trapeze, dance, clowning, handstands, etc).  My dance classes, in particular, encouraged a certain spirituality for me, that mixed my body and spirit in an inspiring way.  My body became a place of possibility and deeply affected my perception of God and my perception of myself.  One of my Bible professors suggested that my Masters thesis examine dance in the Hebrew (Old) Testament so that’s what I did.  I’m very curious about movement and metaphor.
News of my father’s brain tumor sent me flying back to the United States. After caring for my family, in Indiana, for a  year I moved to Chicago, where I found a full time circus training program (at Aloft Loft).  There I spent 40 hrs a week for 9 months studying everything from clowning to juggling to aerial acrobatics. Now I teach aerials (trapeze, hoop, silks), handstands and Pilates.
I hope to deepen relationships with you all, at St Luke’s as we grow together. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity, at St Luke’s to delve into ministry again and to participate in a congregation that fosters creativity, spirituality and community and a deep concern for its children.

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