The Rev. Phyllis Spiegel

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Greetings Diocese of Utah. I was raised in Southwestern Virginia and baptized at St. Paul’s in Salem, Virginia. The youngest of three, my childhood was comprised of church, Girl Scouting, camping, and hiking the Appalachian Trail. I attended Emory & Henry, graduating with an interdisciplinary BA of Business Management, French, and International Studies. After graduation, I interned with Southern Empowerment Project (SEP) and spent my time learning grassroots organizing in Appalachia. Drawing on my undergraduate studies and time with SEP, I taught
Business and Commerce at a secondary school in Kenya for nine months. Returning to the U.S., I worked for the Girl Scouts briefly before opening a second location of my mom’s nature store, For the Birds. Eleven years later, I answered the call to the priesthood.

My four-year-old daughter and I arrived at Virginia Theological Seminary in the fall of 2001, and I was called as Deacon/Priest-in-Charge to St. Thomas, a church dedicated to serving the unhoused, in Christiansburg, VA in 2004. St. Anne called me as rector in 2015 and I discovered a vibrant congregation embracing core values of welcome, inclusion, and discipleship. Community building, service,
outreach, and creation care are foundational aspects of my family life and priesthood. I am single, my hiking partner is a 90-pound Dutch Shepherd mix named Samson. My daughter and her husband live in England, and I am very close to my siblings, my stepfather, and our extended family. Family gatherings always involve enjoying the outdoors and evenings of games.

Saludos Diócesis de Utah. Fui criado en el suroeste de Virginia y bautizado en Paul’s en Salem, Virginia. El más joven de tres, mi infancia se compone de mi infancia estuvo compuesta por la iglesia, las niñas exploradoras, las acampadas y las caminatas por el Sendero de los Apalaches. Asistí a la escuela Emory & Henry, donde me gradué con una licenciatura interdisciplinaria en Administración de Empresas,
francés y estudios internacionales. Después de mi graduación, hice una pasantía en Southern
(SEP) y pasé mi tiempo aprendiendo a organizar las bases en los Apalaches. Aprovechando mis estudios universitarios y el tiempo que pasé en el SEP, enseñé Comercio en una escuela secundaria de Kenia durante nueve meses.
Al volver a Estados Unidos, trabajé brevemente para las Girl Scouts antes de abrir un segundo local de la tienda de naturaleza de mi madre. tienda de naturaleza de mi madre, For the Birds. Once años después, respondí a la la llamada al sacerdocio.

Mi hija de cuatro años y yo llegamos al Seminario Teológico de Virginia en el otoño de 2001, y fui llamado como diácono/sacerdote a cargo de St. Thomas, una iglesia dedicada a servir a los desamparados, en Christiansburg, VA en 2004. Santa Ana me llamó Anne me llamó como rector en 2015 y descubrí una congregación vibrante que abrazaba los valores valores centrales de bienvenida, inclusión y discipulado. La construcción de la comunidad, el servicio y el cuidado de la creación son aspectos fundamentales de mi vida familiar y mi vida familiar y mi sacerdocio. Soy soltero, mi compañero de excursión es una mezcla de pastor holandés de 90 libras llamado Samson. Mi hija y su marido viven en Inglaterra, y estoy muy Estoy muy cerca de mis hermanos, mi padrastro y nuestra familia extendida. Las reuniones familiares siempre implican disfrutar del aire libre y de tardes de juegos.

The Rev. Phyllis A. Spiegel

Four pillars inform my interest in joining your conversations as you seek your next bishop: Call, Spirit, People, and Place.  

Call: The Diocese of Utah is doing the work I am called to do and have been shaped for throughout my seventeen years of ordained ministry, as well as the eleven years prior as a professional naturalist. A bishop needs to articulate and lead the vision, but the diocese must have a heart for it. God is shaping the same call in our hearts.

Spirit: Having a great affinity for the Holy Spirit, I am sensitive and responsive to the Spirit’s movement. Your invitation to those who feel a rising up to be in conversation named what I was feeling and hearing through prayer and affirmation from the Cloud of Witnesses in my life.

People: A primary resonance as I read your profile is the incredible diversity of the people, both in the Episcopal Church and in the state. Diversity, whether cultural, racial, personal/sexual identity, theological, educational, socio-economic, or political, has been an important part of the two churches I have served. Diversity of people is an essential aspect of my love of ministry. Welcoming everyone at the table means a constant resizing, shaping, and placement of the table itself.

Embracing the incredible diversity of people in Utah is a primary part the missional work your diocese is seeking, and it engages my baptismal imagination.

Place: Culture and place deeply entwine. When called to serve in a new place, the significance of land, culture, and history, must be at the forefront of our curiosity and respect. Sacred Ground has taught me a lot and greatly expanded my world view. The opportunity to learn a new place, from peoples of varied cultures and faiths, in a land I have visited and loved, is a significant piece of the resonance I feel with this call. Books prepare us, but the only way to truly learn is through the stories of a place’s people and from the land itself.

For these reasons, and many more, I would be blessed and excited to enter into conversation with the Diocese of Utah.

The Diocese of Utah has an honest assessment of where it stands, the direction it wants to go, and the partnership it is looking for with its next bishop. Each of the eight Opportunities in the profile is deeply interconnected, making the work exciting but also challenging, as there is an interdependent quality about them. So, what is the tree off which all other opportunities branch? Community. The type of community Episcopalians are just beginning to understand: community that begins in relationship with Jesus, a community of disciples; a just community honest about racial brokenness, past and present; a community equipping members for ministry; a community committed to innovative ministry honoring the past while dreaming a future into being.

Jesus began turning God’s people toward the new way, the Way of Love, by inviting people from the edges, from a life of broken nets, from booths of corruption, to follow him. But Jesus also invited those with power, with opulent gifts of oil, with more faith in him than society thought appropriate. The invitation into the Way of Love is not only the origin story of Christianity but also the story of our future as a church, a community of the faithful. Each church, parish, or mission has its own story, its strengths, vulnerabilities, and realities. The profile for the Diocese of Utah names the truths of The Episcopal Church. We are worried about money, not for money’s sake, but to pay the most basic expenses for our churches and the people who rely on them. We are beyond the age of creating churchgoers and ready to do the deeper work of becoming disciples. We hunger to be Repairers of the Breaches that are tearing our country asunder. We long for deacons and priests to be healthy, connected, and supported enough to strengthen and embolden us all to be the hands and feet of Christ in this embittered, and yet marvelously made, world.

We know, deep down we know, what happens on our watch as Christians in the here and now matters greatly. But we also need guidance, support, knowledge, and encouragement to learn our own role as a community of disciples. Together we must undertake the work of transformation to become a relevant church in the twenty-first century.

The work before the Diocese of Utah is to become the community we share together in Jesus.



Sermons from The Rev. Phyllis Spiegel

Link to additional sermon