Our Story

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We were reared in Christian homes and Bible-teaching churches. We each came to faith and were baptized as children. We both benefited from regular instruction in Sunday School and formal Christian education. We met in college where Sheryl studied history and Steve studied theater.

In 1978 we married right after graduation and welcomed Christopher about 18 months later. A 3-year season in Florence, SC in the care of a fellowship that taught and modeled grace and covenant ignited in us a vision for what Christian community should be. The elders and leaders of that fellowship encouraged Steve to pursue pastoral work, a very scary proposition at the time. So, after the birth of our second son, Jonathan, as a step in that direction, we accepted the opportunity to serve with Precept Ministries in Chattanooga, TN. For nearly a decade Sheryl traveled for Precept nationally teaching leadership seminars and Bible study methodology. We moved to Jackson, MS for Steve to begin his seminary studies, and that’s where our third son, Timothy, arrived. After Steve completed his Master of Divinity degree at Reformed Theological Seminary (1991), he remained at the seminary to serve initially as Director of Admission, then as Executive Vice President. During that time we actively supported the planting of Highlands Presbyterian Church in Ridgland, MS.

In 1998 Steve accepted the call to serve as pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church (NLPC), Ithaca, NY, a congregation that needed to be revitalized. Almost immediately after our arrival in Ithaca, we eagerly supported the founding of Chesterton House Center for Christian Studies at Cornell University. Steve served as the founding board chair and led movie night discussions. We both continue to serve as mentors to Cornell students who are Chesterton House residents.

In 2015 Steve completed a Doctor of Ministry degree with a thesis focusing on community formation, vocation, calling, and the mission of God in the world. The thesis advanced our commitment to be a sending church, equipping women and men beginning their vocational lives with a clear understanding of the gospel and a deep commitment to show the kingdom and character of God as they push back on the brokenness of the world. Over the nearly 25 years we served at NLPC, we enjoyed speaking occasionally at church retreats and continuing discipleship relationships with NLPC alums including trips that took us to Nepal and the Philippines.

In 2020 Steve was diagnosed with an aggressive sarcoma in his right shoulder area. After 2 months of radiation, surgery, and 6 months of in-patient chemo-therapy at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY, Steve is NED (No Evidence of Disease) – thanks be to God! But, we realized that chemo had taken a long-term toll on Steve and that it was time, because of the limitations of the new normal, for him to pass the pastoral baton. Steve is now pastor emeritus at NLPC. We are grateful for our home which we moved into in 2019 pre-COVID and pre-cancer – we made the move with retirement in mind, but did not know that transition would happen as early as it did. We host guests in our AirBnB apartment which we call Creek Hollow Hideaway, and our home is a great playground for our 7 grandchildren, all of whom live nearby.

Now we are focusing our energies on continued service under the banner of Grace Unscripted. Steve is already enjoying preaching opportunities, we are organizing a invitation from an NLPC alum to speak in South Africa, and we have started visiting NLPC alums that we have sent out over the years. The first pages of this new adventure are just being written. Who knows how God will continue to fold us into his great and ongoing story.

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