"Hello!" from new TCL Assistant Pam Jarvis


Hello!  I am so happy to have joined the dynamic entity that is The Church Lab alongside Carrie, the Board members, and Dialogue participants both past, present and future, as well as all those touched by the work of TCL out in the world. As I graduate from seminary with my head full of theoretical ideas, I couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to see where and how what I think is true may actually be true. I believe The Church Lab, with its commitment to experimentation and open dialogue, along with a mentor in Carrie, is just the right place for me to land.

In the interest of your having a chance to get to know me, I’d like to share a bit about myself. I grew up in Arkansas; my dad is a retired Methodist minister; my parents and brother all still live in Arkansas; I left to come to Austin at 19. I lived and worked at a children’s residential treatment center in Ft. Worth for two years in the late 80s under the auspices of the Catholic Church, but otherwise I’ve been here – eating barbeque and queso, listening to music, making friends, and wishing it weren’t so hot during the summer. I worked at local bakeries and as a nanny until I returned to school in 2008. I proudly graduated in 2012 from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I was called to seminary in 2014 and found myself right where I needed to be, in the thick of it at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I have a 14-year-old daughter; she will begin high school next fall.

I am Episcopalian. I love the liturgy and commitment to social justice I experience there. I love my home parish, St. James’ Episcopal on Austin’s east side. I found myself at a Presbyterian school because I was unable to pursue ordination at the time in my own diocese due to my sexual orientation. As it turns out, APTS formed me into a pastor, prophet and scholar. I have learned that my call is not into parish priesthood, but rather into a fusion of the world and into scholarship. I feel my baptism deeply. I am fully committed to living into who God made me to be and calls me to act. This commitment manifests itself in kindness, honesty, awareness, creativity, and passion. I do believe that humility is the beginning of wisdom, therefore I understand that I cannot know truth without community or without God’s guidance.

Tom Waits has written:

Pin your ear to the wisdom post

Pin your eye to the line

Never let the weeds get higher than the garden

Always keep a sapphire in your mind.

As I live into God’s call to me, which includes this work with you through The Church Lab, I welcome all the learning I can get ahold of. I invite you will help me to stay true to who I am and whose I am.

Grace and peace,