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St. Stephen's luncheon offers opportunity for pastors' wives to share their stories

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The idea of settling in a “place” was foreign to Becca Chapman — until she moved to Sewickley.

“I grew up as the daughter of a Scot who was back and forth across the Atlantic, traveling and living in many different places,” said Chapman, wife of the Rev. Geoff Chapman, senior pastor at St. Stephen's Church in Sewickley.

Finding a sense of place will be Chapman's focus as she relates her personal experiences on Sept. 28 during St. Stephen's Women's Ministry's “Living Stories” luncheon. The event will feature personal stories from Dana Henry, wife of the Rev. Bill Henry, associate pastor; and Kamala Palmer, wife of the Rev. Steve Palmer, pastoral assistant.

During the gathering — initiated and organized by Fran Fetterolf, chairman of the women's ministry fall program — the pastors' wives will tell stories of their ups and downs, struggles and successes.

Julie McCormick, volunteer director of the women's ministry, said the women will talk about where they've been and where they are going and how God is “always here for us and with us” in relation to place, security and identity.

For Chapman, living in Sewickley and working in Pittsburgh has been a “gift” for the past 18 years, she said.

“Getting to know this village and this city has been life changing for me. It has also greatly affected my spiritual life — to know that this is where God has placed me, and this is where I am asked to live out my faith.

“All living is local — this land, this neighborhood, these trees, and streets and houses — this work, these shops and markets. God has placed us here in Sewickley and has called us to use our gifts, talents and resources to impact our neighborhoods compassionately and positively.”

Chapman, executive director of the Pittsburgh Fellows, said her lecture is based on a quote from Eugene Peterson's forward to Eric O. Jacobsen's book, “Sidewalks in the Kingdom,” which has had an impact on her life.

“In the Christian imagination, where you live gets equal billing with what you believe. Geography and theology are Biblical bedfellows.

“Everything that the creator God does, and therefore everything that we do, is in a ‘place.'”

Palmer said she will focus on identity and discovering the different layers and components to find worth and significance in the various roles people play in their lives.

As a young mother with two children — and a third on the way — Palmer, 30, of Sewickley, also goes to college.

“When things go poorly, like I don't get that grade or when things don't go right with the kids, I ground myself with the people around me. My worth isn't shaken if I make or don't make a lot of money or if I get my Ph.D or not, because I know I'm loved for who I am and loved by God.”

Henry, of Edgeworth, who is in her mid 40s, will speak about security and how she recently has had to learn to gain her own security from God.

She said she is taking care of aging parents, who used to be her security, and looking after three children, for whom she needs to provide security.

“I've had to learn how to let God take care of me,” she said.

St. Stephen's volunteers will prepare and serve food, and Joni McFarland, guest lecturer of music at Grove City College, will entertain.

Representatives from several of the church's ministries will hand out information on programs such as the prayer shawl group, the Christy House, Cooking with Kids, Tuesday morning Bible study, Beth Moore Bible Study and ladies' Christmas brunch.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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