Monday, April 25, 2016

Who Am We? Vicki Kelley

From my usual vantage point standing in the back of the church, I often see Vicki welcoming a friend from the park or putting a comforting hand on someone’s back. I’ve run into her at the Del Mar Fair as she pushed a woman in a wheelchair. She miraculously appeared one day while on her daily run and stopped to help a directionally challenged soul find where I was going.

Before moving to California, Vicki was a police officer in Toledo, Ohio. When she visited siblings living in the Golden State, she had to decide between going back to the snow or staying here.

We won.

Vicki grew up Roman Catholic. She felt neither accepted nor wanted by her church and walked away. But she still yearned for a spiritual home. A friend suggested St. Paul’s where she’s found what had been missing. She’s been a member here close to fifteen years.

Vicki’s heart has always had a special place for seniors and the homeless. She loves helping seniors through St. Paul’s Senior Services and the homeless through Outreach.

Everyday she walks through Balboa Park and sees “God’s amazing gifts” in nature and in her homeless friends. “I see Christ over and over again every day.” She feels her most important work at St. Paul’s is a privilege being there for the homeless.

Vicki says while some people rely on physical weapons for protection, her weapons are her heart and her words. In and with her experience, she is able to diffuse tense situations by being available and speaking in a way that lets people know someone cares about them.

“If you are able to step out of your comfort zone, you will find divine intervention.”

Vicki is an animal lover, a dedicated exerciser, and a reader. She reads daily meditations and mostly religiously-themed books. She’s is currently enjoying Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. Her all-time favorite book is Quantum Leap: How John Polkinghorne Found God in Science and Religion by Dean Nelson and Karl Giberson. The book deals with the relationship of science and religion—past conflicts and present collaborations.

When I asked her what she wanted the people of St. Paul’s to know about her, Vicki said, “I love and appreciate the people of St. Paul’s—the joy and sense of acceptance they’ve brought to my life—I want them to know I’m there for them.”

Judging from her smile, the love and appreciation bounce right back to her.

 St. Paul’s member, Cindy Schuricht, would love to talk with you. Please let her know if you would like to be interviewed for the Who Am We? series.   Click here to read  how Who Am We? got started. Cindy has a member of St. Pauls’ for about ten years. She reviews children’s books in her blog

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