by Creative Team on November 19, 2019

Q: What do you do here at Calvary?

A: I direct the elementary level ministries. So I oversee all of the children's programming and the volunteers and anything that pertains to our kids that are in grades one to six.

We have ministry for children in the elementary level on Sunday mornings [during] the first hour, so I oversee all of that. And then on Wednesday nights we have our Discovery Clubs. So I'm here through Wednesday evenings overseeing those ministries as well.

Q: And how many volunteers are on your team?

A: I should know that number offhand, and I don't...but I think over 150 in Elementary Ministries. That would be all of our volunteers during the ministry hours as well as my Bible teaching team. And then, in addition to that, we have some who come in during the week.

Q: How did you come to faith?

A: I was born and raised (until I was 10) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. So I'm Canadian, [and] my family's all still in Canada. I was born in Montreal and - I just love this part of my story 'cause it's this connection to Calvary Church that most people don't know about - but back in the late forties my dad was in his early twenties, I believe he was 21, and he went to some kind of a rally or a meeting at a church in Montreal. [At that event], he went forward to give his life to Christ, and the man who sat with him and led him to Christ was Eric Crichton! And that was back in the 1940s, and I just think it's so fun. I always think that God's looking down saying, "Wait til they see what I do with this!" And to think that years later we would be in Eric Crichton's church and serving on this staff where he was the pastor is just a wonderful family connection.

My dad didn't come to know the Lord till he was an adult, and my mom was raised in a Christian home. So I was raised in a Christian home, but I was 10 years old before anyone clearly told me that I had to respond to the gospel personally. I knew the gospel story, knew that Jesus died for me. I loved God, I loved Jesus, and I think I, for all those years, thought it was a family affair that, "Oh my family - we all love Jesus - we're all going to Heaven." Nobody told me till I was 10 years old that I had to personally make a decision to trust Christ. So I readily did, because I did love him, and I believed the gospel. I gave my life to Christ, and I'm so thankful for the church that I grew up in because it was really a church that was very friendly to children and to teens. They gave us lots of opportunities to serve, even as we were learning to serve.

There was a woman in our church who invited me ([when] I was a teenager) and three friends to come to her home every Saturday morning for hours, for four weeks, to teach us how to teach Sunday school. So we went and she just taught us the basics of teaching the Bible to children. And then she assigned us [each] to a class, and I would have to go and teach the class on Sunday morning. And she came and sat there and watched me and took notes. Then, when the kids left, she met with me and told me what I did well and...where I needed to improve, and invested so much time in helping me learn to do that. I think it really gave me a passion to teach children the Bible, and that children could learn, and that it was a serious undertaking to be a teacher of God's word.

Q: How did you end up at Calvary?

A: Well, my husband [John Noel - Worship Ministry Associate] and I were living in the Philadelphia area, and John had been a worship pastor and music director at a very large Christian school for a number of years. Then, took a break from that and he became the assistant to the president of BCM International, which is a missions organization some people might be familiar with. And in 2002 BCM moved their headquarters from the Philadelphia area to the Lancaster area. And so several families that were from BCM moved to the Lancaster area at that time. John's brother Mark and his wife Cheryl [had been] here [at] Calvary and she was on the staff, and they encouraged us to come. To be honest, we said no. At the beginning, we really didn't want to come to Calvary because for us it was just too big, and we wanted to be in a church that felt more like a family. ...We had both been raised in churches like that, we had been on staff at a church like that, and just really were looking for that.

So we didn't come to Calvary right away. We started visiting other churches in Lancaster County and after a number of weeks of going to different churches, I think we were just feeling lonely and feeling like we just needed a Sunday where our kids knew somebody, and where we knew somebody, and we felt a little bit familiar, and so we said, let's just have a Sunday and let's just go to Calvary and sit with Mark and Cheryl and just feel like we're with somebody that we know, and we've been here ever since! We came to Calvary in the summer of 2002, and I was hired the following year in 2003. Our whole married life, [John and I have] really done ministry together. In our former church, he was our Worship Pastor, and I was the Children's Ministry Director. So it's kind of in our whole married life to do worship ministries and children's ministries.

Q: Tell us the story of how you and John met.

A. That's always a fun story to tell. I'll try to tell the short version, although the long version is really fun too. I'm from Canada; John was born and raised in the Philly area. He went to PCB at the time, which is now Cairn University, and did a degree in piano and worship ministries. I had graduated a year earlier with an education major; I was an elementary school teacher in second grade. I was teaching school, he had just graduated from college as a music major, [and] he and his roommate were looking for something they could do that summer to use their piano skills in ministry somehow before they went full time into the workforce. So they contacted UFM, which is now Crossworld - it's a missionary agency that Calvary works with - and asked if there was something they could do. [UFM] invited John and his roommate to go on an eight week tour all through France visiting different missionary homes. It was hard back in those days for missionaries to get to know their neighbors. In France, people didn't really just invite people in; it was a little more private. But they love the arts, so they knew if they had a concert in their home that people would come. So they invited John and his roommate to put on an hour long four-hand piano concert in their homes, and they traveled for eight weeks to all different missionary homes, and the missionaries would invite all of their neighbors in for this piano concert. And John and Dave would play an assortment of music. They did jazz and sacred and classical and big band music, and then they would share their testimonies and somebody would translate for them. And then they would kind of melt into the background and the missionaries would get to just meet with their neighbors.

So he was already in France doing that. I was invited with two girlfriends by UFM Canada to go to France to work at a camp for missionary children, because most people came home on furlough back then. They would come home for a whole year. They found that while the kids were...from English families, because they went to school and did all of their reading and writing in French, they found that their kids found it challenging to come home and be immersed into American and Canadian schools. So they started this camp for two and a half weeks for missionary children where they could go and have a camp experience and be tutored in English four hours a day, and they hire teachers to come over as the counselors and [tutors]. And at the end of John and Dave's eight weeks traveling around doing music, they asked if they would like to go to the camp to teach Bible, sports, and music to the kids. So long story short, John and I ended up meeting at this little tiny camp up in the mountains in France for missionary children. We had two weeks together. And I'm not saying I recommend this, but I did go home and tell my best friend that I met the man I was going to marry... [laughs] ...but we didn't rush into that. We took our time...and we dated for about a year long distance. And then I moved to the States so we could continue to seriously pursue our relationship. And then we were married the next year, so we met in 84 and we were married in 87. He is my greatest blessing.

Q: What are some highlights, specific to your role, of your time here at Calvary?

A: In Elementary Ministries we see over 300 kids a week that come through our ministry doors and into our classrooms. And of course that is just a highlight. That's why we do what we do...because we want kids to be here, to hear God's word, to build relationships. Seeing 300 kids a week regularly coming through our doors, being actively engaged in God's word is certainly a highlight. On my volunteer team, I have what I call my elementary leadership team, which has morphed a little bit over the years, but just some key people who are highly, highly invested in ministry who love the Lord, love kids, love children's ministries. They give a lot of their time, and so that's a highlight for me to get to really personally invest in some high energy, high level volunteers who really care about the ministry. [Another] highlight for me over the years has been finding ways to get to connect with parents better, and the encouragement in that is seeing really so many parents, and parents who are in a generation younger than me, who are really understanding their role as the primary spiritual influence in their kids' lives and who are really serious about raising their kids to love the Lord and to love his word. And that's so...encouraging and just such a blessing to see that. And knowing that I know our kids are being raised by parents who really love Jesus and want their kids to know him too. So that's a highlight!

Q: Who are you discovering God to be today?

A: Well actually I really liked that question. When I first read it, I thought, "Did I read that right?" But I do really like that question! I came up with this phrase that I am learning: that "God is lovingly relentless in his pursuit of me." And I love our purpose statement here at Calvary, that we are Pursuing Life in Christ, and I value that and wholeheartedly embrace that, but I think there's also something that I love about the fact that God is pursuing me. And if I have a heart that is humble and teachable and is pursuing Him, then He is going to lovingly and relentlessly pursue me.

Q: What do you and John do for fun?

A: I think our favorite thing to do is to travel. We both love to travel and we love to explore new places. We're not the kind of people who love to go on a vacation and sit and read a book, 'cause we feel like we can do that at home. So if we're going to travel, we want to explore, and we get up in the morning and go till 10 o'clock at night. We love to hike, and we love to climb mountains, and we just love to explore new places. So that's probably the thing we love the most. And now we love to spend time with our new little grandson...and of course our children.