Hi! I’m Allie. I’ve been the pastor of Arlington Temple since June 2013, and I write (and preach) these sermons.
I grew up going to church, and I loved it, but I never really thought I wanted to be a pastor. I wanted, at various times in my life, to be a news broadcaster, or a marine biologist, or a diplomat, or a human rights lawyer.
But in college at William & Mary a couple things came together. I took a human rights class and I read a book by Desmond Tutu and I realized that the good things he did in the world couldn’t be separated from his faith, and maybe neither could the good things I wanted to do. I took Religious Studies classes and fell in love with the Bible in all its weird, beautiful, challenging, problematic glory. I got involved in my campus ministry and met other people who were taking this whole following Jesus thing seriously and we thought about it and talked about it and tried to actually do it, together. And I got involved in service around the Williamsburg community and I met all these different people, like the sushi chefs I tutored in English and the disabled adults in my church’s Respite Care program.
One day I sat around the lunch table at Respite Care and I looked around, and there we were: an unlikely group of caregivers, college volunteers, a young blind quadriplegic woman, an old woman with Parkinson’s disease, a skinny young man in a wheelchair who couldn’t speak. I looked around and I thought this is the Kingdom of God, because we’re all so different, but here we are gathered around a table together, and we’re a family.
That was my call: to bring God’s family together. To tell everyone that they are part of the family and so is everyone they kind of wish wasn’t. That God’s family is so much bigger and more colorful and more diverse than we ever imagined.
In seminary I started trying to put that nice thought into action through work with homeless people, and that continues to be an important part of my call to ministry. At Arlington Temple we’re blessed to be able to welcome our neighbors who need a place to go during the day and something to eat. Sometimes on Sundays our church looks just like that image of the Kingdom I had back in college: a place where you can often find a Foreign Service officer and a homeless guy sharing coffee and cookies after worship.
I also still really love the Bible, which I suppose is a good thing. I fell in love with the Bible as I studied with it and struggled with it and wrote notes in my margins such as “Oh no you just did not, Paul!” I try to pass that love on by helping people to look at Scripture in new ways. It’s amazing what God can say to us when a passage turns out not to mean what we always thought it meant.
I’m married to Jon, who I met in Sunday School when I was five, and we have a cat named Dobby, like the house elf. I like running and kayaking but also nerdy things like learning new languages for fun. I bake a lot of cookies. And I’ve been to six continents. If you hear about an affordable trip to Antarctica, let me know.