Rev. Peggy Yingst
- Brattleboro, Vermont
I am a solo pastor serving a small church in the great town of Brattleboro, Vermont, one of only seven ELCA churches in the state.
What brings you joy in your ministry?
Children's sermons. The monthly service I provide at the retirement home. Serving meals at the local homeless shelter and at Cathedral in the Night in Northampton, MA. Gathering with interfaith clergy in town. Gathering with my Lutheran brothers and sisters for a weekly text study. Getting my congregation to get outside its walls (literal and figurative ones!)
Who inspires you in ministry or seminary?
So many people inspire or have inspired me in ministry, that I couldn't begin to list them. My own parishioners inspire me to be a better pastor to them, to be the best I can be. I frequently choke up with emotion while reading the Gospel in the midst of the congregation, realizing that it is ME that gets to proclaim these amazing words as others have through the centuries. It is an awesome and wonderful task. I continue to be humbled by the work of some of my heroes of the faith, Anita Hill, Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, Jeff Johnson, Nathan Pipho, Brad Schmeling, Brad Froslee, Steve Sabin, Donna Simon, Jane Ralph, Robyn Hartwig and so many others.
What are your interests outside of ministry?
Playing third base in a hotly contested softball game.
Best meal you've ever eaten?
The best meal I've ever eaten was the swordfish cioppino at Gilly's restaurant in West Brattleboro. Sadly, the restaurant closed about 3 months ago. Other restaurants in town have much nicer ambiance, but none had better food.
A lifelong Lutheran, Peggy Yingst grew up in Mentone, a small, rural town in southern California, and attended Faith Lutheran Church in Yucaipa nearly all her life. An active and vibrant Luther League helped to shape her faith, as did all the mentors she felt loved by in the church. She graduated with a B.A. in Art/Graphic Design from San Jose State University in California in 1980. Peggy discerned a call to parish ministry in her late 30s, while she was in the midst of a career in advertising. She attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree in 2003. During her preparation for the ordained ministry, Peggy served as an intern pastor at United Lutheran Church, and as the chaplain for the Good Samaritan Health Care Facility, both in Eugene, Oregon, under the supervision of The Rev. Tom Dodd. She completed her Clinical Pastoral Education by serving as a chaplain at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California, and trained at the Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco de Espanol in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. After seminary, Peggy spent a year in California’s high desert community of Victorville, serving as Director of Evangelism and Coordinator of Parish Education at another Lutheran Church named Trinity. Although always a California girl at heart, Peggy now loves calling Vermont home! She lives in Trinity's parsonage in Brattleboro with her cat, Monica. She is a Reconciling Lutheran and a member of the Proclaim! roster. Then-Bishop Margaret Payne appointed Peggy the dean of the Vermont-New York Conference of the New England Synod in 2011. Current Bishop Jim Hazelwood has recently appointed her as the Chair of the New England Synod's Team for LGBT Inclusion. One of Peggy's all-time favorite books is Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace? She can be reached at the church by appointment or by chance, Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Contact her at email@example.com from Trinity's website: www.trinitybrattleboro.org
Did you always want to be clergy?
I never thought about being a pastor when I was a kid. That was a job only men could do. Later, I realized it was a job only straight people could do. Although I trained as an artist, and then spent 25 years selling advertising, serving God's people through Word and Sacrament ministry was always something that tugged at me. I started seminary classes at 40 and it took seven years after graduation to receive my first call (at 52) but here I am!