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Friends for life, ready for ministry

Two justice-minded seminary friends become clergy colleagues during ordination at the 2016 Michigan Conference.

Michigan Area Communications

This is the story of two women–one from the Detroit Conference and the other from the West Michigan Conference–who have enjoyed many experiences together, including commissioning at the 2016 Michigan Annual Conference.

Katie Fahey and Cora Glass first met at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, In August 2013. Since that time Fahey and Glass have found companionship in life as friends in ministry. 

Growing up serving

Cora Glass grew up in Bloomfield Hills and was active at Birmingham First United Methodist Church. She found her interest in ministry while in middle school through events like Crop Walk, that promoted service to marginalized people. These experiences helped Glass realize she “could make an impact and be a resource for friends, family, and my church.” Glass felt impassioned to take on the issue of hunger and to serve others. This led her to attend High Point University, a United Methodist college, in High Point, NC. 

During her time at High Point University, Glass found herself attracted to a local United Methodist Church that actively sought to include college students from the university into its community. There, she went on alternative spring break trips organized through the church and became a part of the choir. On one alternative spring break trip, Glass worked with the Society of St. Andrew in Orlando, FL whose gleaning and food related ministries resonated with her. 

Glass received a Bachelor’s Degree in non-profit leadership and management in December 2012 with intentions of moving on to a seminary with a focus on service and justice programming. It was several social justice minded Garrett grads who graduated from the seminary, that brought her to apply to Garret Evangelical-Theological Seminary .

Discerning a call

Katie Fahey entered Spring Arbor University in 2005 and majored in social work. In 2009 she began working as a social worker while living in her home town of Edwardsburg, MI. Fahey then came to the campus of Western Michigan University in 2011 to acquire her masters in social work.  

During her time at WMU, Fahey connected with the Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo through their Thank God It’s Thursday worship service. Through the Wesley Foundation and the mentorship of Lisa Batten, Fahey was able to discover her call to ministry and answer her call at the 2012 West Michigan Annual Conference.  

From 2012 until the late summer of 2013, Fahey was the Residential Director for the Wesley Intentional Living Center at WMU and also worked for Westwood UMC as their Children’s Ministry Director. At the same time she worked through the candidacy process with her mentor, Rev. Cara Weiler, in order to better discern her call to ministry. Fahey was accepted to Garret Evangelical-Theological Seminary and began attending in the Fall of 2013.

A shared journey

Glass recalls meeting Fahey for the first time during the last night of the 2013 Fall Orientation at Chicago Temple, where Fahey invited everyone to her birthday as a way to break the ice. Throughout the year, Glass and Fahey found themselves in the same circle of friends and in some similar classes as well.  

After a year, Fahey began looking for roommates to share an apartment and Glass accepted the opportunity. During their time living together, both Glass and Fahey felt that they were able to “unpack” their experiences after their seminary classes.

“Getting to know Katie came with conversations about God and spirituality,” Glass said, “ as well as being able to process and celebrate experiences.” Fahey said that living together at Garrett enabled the two of them to support one another on good or bad days. This helped to make them close friends. 

Fahey said that Glass often asked her questions that challenged her and that were helpful to her in different ways. They even worked on their commissioning paperwork together and discussed the new conference being created in Michigan. Both Fahey and Glass involved themselves in class leadership at GETS and were able to positively influence change in their student body.

Commissioned together

Then they were on the stage of Breslin Arena together, June 12, 2016. Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey commissioned Cora a Provisional Deacon. Katie was commissioned a Provisional Elder. An important milestone shared.

After her commissioning, Fahey began an appointment within the connection. She serves at Garrett Theological-Evangelical Seminary as the Director of Residential Ministries. Fahey works with 100-150 residents who are students at GETS working through their calls to ministry. She also advocates for students in their living conditions and offers pastoral care to students, including families and roommates.

And now it is Glass who serves as the Residential Director for the Wesley Intentional Living Center in Kalamazoo, MI. She oversees the ministry with residents living in the Intentional Living Center and also leads bible studies, service opportunities, and retreats for the Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo; the same position Fahey held four years prior.

While miles now separate them, as ordained clergywomen of the Michigan Area, Cora and Katie’s days of friendship and shared ministry have only just begun.

Last Updated on July 21, 2016

The Michigan Conference