We are so pleased to share two well-deserved features of our board president and Associate Pastor of Mission Ministries at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Rev. Patrice Fowler-Searcy! Her work for the community over the past twenty years has been integral in guiding the neighborhood towards a vibrant, mixed-income community. In a Q&A and profile from Faith & Leadership, she discusses her path to ministry and community development in East Liberty, what keeps her going and her lessons learned. These two are definitely worth a read.

Feature 1: Patrice L. Fowler-Searcy: You have to listen to the community

Snippet from the story:

“But again, it’s not about you. It’s about the people within the community. When you get to know them on a personal level, even though your passion may wane, there’s something about doing God’s work for God’s people — it comes back.

There’s a refreshing, something new there.

Most recently, I knew a lot of the families who moved out of a recently closed housing project and into new homes. So it became exciting for me when they were able to move into brand-new apartments that had all the amenities they hadn’t had for the last 30 years, and to be invited in to see all the pride they now took in being in a modern home.

That made me feel proud to be a part of the development of this community, and it also gave me that boost to say, “We’re doing good work; we’ve got to keep going.”

It’s the people that can pull you back into it and ignite that passion again.”

Feature 2: Seminary students and their professor benefit from the wisdom of a local pastor

Snippet from the story:

This renewal of East Liberty has been reported in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian — but the articles do not mention the church or its key partnership with the local community development corporation.

Nor do they mention Fowler-Searcy, who has embodied that partnership as a staff person at the church and the president of the development corporation’s board — in the thick of it for two decades.

“I’m always mindful, when I’m at the head of the table leading a meeting there, of what is in the best interest of the entire community from a pastoral perspective, so we’re not denying anyone the ability to be a part of this community,” she said.