Birthday Announcements

I’m 39

My birthday was yesterday officially.

It was a big workday as I run a farmer’s market at my church, and we have a zoom prayer group every Tuesday, plus my boys and some friends decided to sell water. It was a nice day full of people. A good contrast to the past couple years of isolation, outside and relatively safe.

I made my fundraising goal for year 2 of Creative Writing Doctorate in Public Facing Writing! Thank you everyone who shared, prayed and donated! All the info is here, and last year some people made bonus donations, so I guess I’ll try not to be shy about putting that opportunity out there: https://gofund.me/70a114f9

I start my Publishing Lab class in August and my final paper for the Power of Storytelling is due at the End of this week (it’s a manifesto, I’m manifesting it as best I can)

I am starting a Patron Program Here for as little as $3/month

I still have 2 sermon Series available One based on Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering/Unbinding the Gospel and One based on Cole Arthur Riley’s This Here Flesh

I also have a Psalm 23 4 Week Series

I continue to write Narrative Lectionary Liturgy Resources.

I also saw that one of the major conduits for my prayers and friend groups revgalblogpals is shutting down which means I need to think hard about what I am doing to disseminate my prayers. Do I need a separate Facebook Page or is WordPress, Twitter and my personal Facebook enough?

Anyway that’s a life update on my writing. If you want to join my mailing list or follow me feel free 🙂

Thanks for Praying with me

Katy “KatyandtheWord”

Doctorate in Creative Writing in Public Theology Update

Hello Folks,

I am about halfway through my Doctorate in Creative Writing Doctorate in Ministry in Public Theology. The degree is through Pittsburgh Seminary, and my colleagues have been truly amazing!

The whole deal is I take a lot of classes in a plethora of writing and storytelling things, I learn how to publish, I pick a final project and I publish the project.

I just finished being in Pittsburgh for my 2/4 in person classes and signed up for my publication lab class. I have turned in 3/4 papers for that class which was “Storytelling in a time such as this.” (The last paper is a manifesto on why I write, which may even be fun, I’m hoping to get the bulk of it done next week when 2/3 kiddos are in sleep away “not scary” Bible Camp)

I am still writing prayers and liturgies and contemplating making a subscription model thing for the fall?!? Where some prayers are free, but more content is available to those who subscribe, but we shall see. (I really don’t know if its worth it, etc.)

I am also very, very close to my goal for this year’s tuition. I don’t know if you recall but I’m trying not to take on debt for this 3 and 1/2 year program which means I’m using my continuing ed funds, self funding and fundraising and cutting costs as much as possible to make it happen.

At this point I have $2, 265 of my $2,500 goal, which is really close and great! I’m hoping to close this out so I can stop worrying about this year and move on to next year.

If you are interested in helping me to cross the finish line I appreciate any and all help. Data shows that I get 100ish views a day (which is amazing) so even if you can contribute $5, $10 or $20 I bet we can knock out that just under $300 in no time: More of the details of my journey are also available on my go fund me page as well. https://gofund.me/70a114f9

I appreciate all the support, shares and all those of you who pray with me!

Katy “KatyandtheWord” https://gofund.me/70a114f9

Creative Writing as a Public Theologian Degree Update

I got a Satisfactory in my favorite (and super tough) C.S. Lewis theology class. I compared “The Magician’s Nephew” with “A Wind in the Door” and how they both deal with with how personal choices effect creation. I’m (trying to be) satisfied with a satisfactory grade as the professor is very brilliant.

Also that’s when I wrote this short Narnia sequel piece about Susan which I really am proud of: https://katyandtheword.com/tag/c-s-lewis/

I am still in the midst of taking my children’s literature class, which will wrap up in about 5 weeks. It is very fun and exhilarating to be reading and talking about kids books, which I still read to this day. Because, I am a kid at heart. I am still working on writing my own story—though as I hinted at in my last post breaking into children’s publishing is actually the hardest kind of publishing to break into, so I do not know if it’s actually a realistic project or more of a imaginative exercise. Anyway, it’s good to keep practicing writing.

If you find my work helpful please consider contributing to my degree by donating to my go fund me.

D. Min Creative Writing Update

I’m so excited, I’ve gotten my new class assigned and it’s my first choice Writing [for] Children. It will be taught by Melissa A. Butler who is a project leader of Educators Neighborhood for the Fred Rogers Center. I still love to read children’s literature, though I know its actually a super hard field to break into when it comes to writing. I’m also laughing because one of the assignments will be to talk to a children’s librarian–which my husband is one, and of course I know them all so that will be super fun 🙂 Can’t wait for the next part of this adventure.

Support my writing and see more about my journey here: https://gofund.me/70a114f9

Being Human

An experiment in poetry

Thanks to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary

By Katy Stenta 

The story gets more fantastic

The more we tell it

It gets bigger

Even when we make it more concise

The better adjective, the simple adverb

The timing

All of which can be 

drilled down

to this thing called perfect


But the human being

Exists outside of perfection

There is no perfect time to be human

There is no perfect relationship 

No perfect creation

made by human hands

Humankind works so hard to tell its story

Because maybe if we describe our faith

more perfectly, more people will follow it

Why do we chase perfection? 

Why do we want the feeling of 

having the exact words

to shape how our experiences exist—

Do we not then pretend that our experiences are 

unembodied? 

Do we not want to be lost in a fantastic story

precisely because we have struggled too?

Do we not experience our lives as Science Fiction?

Too technical to explain, too human to let go 

of our essence.

I think I prefer Science Fiction to Perfection. 

My Story & My Writing–Katy

Hello,

I am a pre-Harry Potter Fantasy loving person. I’ve been reading my whole life. I majored in English and History (the Japanese History professor told history like a story) and minored in Philosophy at Oberlin College. I wrote so many papers, that I ended up taking a couple of math classes just to break things up! At Oberlin I co-founded the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall, a sort of co-op for ideas, and with the advent of Harry Potter my sister was able to live at the Hall 10 years later. I also did my Senior thesis on the power of story in folklore, myths and fairytales.

I then went to seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary. I ended up Dual majoring in Divinity and Christian Formation. There I helped pick out the books for “Curriculum and Methods of Teaching, Teaching the Bible in the Church, Children’s Fantasy Literature, and Moral Formation.” There, I realized how formative writers like Tolkein and Lewis and especially Madeline L’engle were to my theology.

I went into ministry, fully loving how my the job changes every single day. However something that someone said towards the end of seminary, that has stuck with me like a blessing, is that a pastor is one of those professions where you are writer who is paid very regularly to write.

When I started ministry, I started doing some twitter support for the LGBTQIA (unofficially) as a pastoral form of support. Additionally as disasters struck, I found myself wanting to share some light or hope. I shared thoughts on “Look for the Helpers” from Mr. Rogers–I wasn’t the only one, but people found it helpful, and Calvin & Hobbes “people would act differently if they looked at the stars more.”

I also missed fantasy and squeezed in being a fellow at Brainery Writers Workshop: Science Fiction Fairy Tales: A Hypoxic Style Writing Workshop – with Dr. Jilly Dreadful featuring authors Daniel José Older, Ellen Datlow and Cathrynne M. Valente. Sadly most of my 1,000s of fantasy books remained in boxes in our small rental.

I also began to be frustrated with the Revised Common Lectionary, which is a wonderful 3 year cycle of working through the Bible. Christians started practicing lectionaries together in 1969. However it carries a lot of baggage–bigotry, racism and sexism, and I was tired of rewriting the resources.

I switched to Narrative Lectionary a couple of years in, and began to write my own prayers and doing my own research. I started canvassing people to help to develop Advent & Lectionary resources. Then my mom completed her Doctorate in Liturgy and resumed church ministry so we have been writing Narrative Lectionary Seeds of Prayer Resources together.

I also started writing resources and worship to be more inclusive as my middle child, Westley, was diagnosed with Autism, ADD, anxiety and diverticulitis, and is primarily nonverbal. I co-founded TrailPraisers Inclusive Worshiping which is currently on hiatus. I’m hoping to restart, but God knows if that will fit anymore. We will see where we land post-Pandemic.

When the Pandemic hit, I was full of feelings and prayers, and I found myself writing fairly prolifically prayers relating to the Pandemic. These resources got a lot of attention and began to be used widely. I began to discern a larger call to public theology in writing.

Currently my three children are 8, 10 and 12. I love writing and I love school. A doctorate in Ministry at Pittsburgh Theology came across my social media in Creative Writing. The logistics seemed–surprisingly possible. It is only two weeks in person, you are expected to be working in ministry at the same time, and my kids have just reached the point of being able to be left for longer. This was especially a concern for my child with autism, obviously.

The only question is financial. My family suffered greatly having just graduated when the first recession took place. We know a lot of people who went back to school when the affordability came into question. We are the last generation who unquestioningly took out whatever college loans we needed to, and had that come crashing down when 9/11 happened our second week of college (we were only dating long distance then). With a disabled child and living in a city in New York, costs are high, and important to meet.

So, I am trying to fundraise. Tuition is $8,000 a year. I will probably get some financial help from my church: that looks to be $2,000 right now. So I am fundraising $2,000 through my writing, and hopefully $2,000 some other way, so that it is a four way split. Half fundraised, 1/4 from the church and 1/4 from the family funds.

So I got to work compiling some more extensive advent resources (thanks to a 1,001 Worshipping Communities grant for a 24hr retreat at home I was able to take the time to do the bulk of the work)–and since I like to start advent early, they start Nov 22nd.

Typically my prayers and resources get hundreds of views a week. If everyone who regularly used my resources put forth $20, math says (yay math) I only need 100 people at that level to reach my first goal. Any help $5-$25 is greatly appreciated. As always all resources can be used and adapted with credit to Katy Stenta

https://gf.me/u/y83935

Donate to PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

Thanks!

Katy Stenta

Small Church, New Church, Old Church, Blue Church: Credo Reflections

“Trust the Process”

Credo is a great program started by Episcopalians and picked up by the Presbyterians to help with clergy health and welfare (emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, financial). Its a process to work, worship and create so that a rule of life can be developed.

This year the Presbyterians are running the first ever early ministry model. (Previously it was only available to mid-career). I was lucky enough to be pulled randomly from the hat to attend. Its a support network to help what is now the overworked life of the clergy today.

I would say, for me, the process was a success. We shall see how the rule of life plays out and whether I can use the accountability tools helpfully.

Here are some interesting things that emerged for me….

1. Many of the pastors there were wishing to start a new church somewhere…

Which makes me wonder, what is that about? Are we prophets of the future? Are we wishing for a system with more pull? Is this what revolutions look like? Or is this how we manufacture hope? What is at the root of this and how does it effect the church in general as we go forward.

2. I also heard that a lot of people wanted to write, really write something, either through a blog or a publication or something. Recently I read a blog (I wish I could find it again) about the fact that pastors are writers who get paid

I personally feel that is true, I write sermons like I wrote my English/History papers (which I double majored in). Writing papers every week in undergrad was a good warm up to solo preaching.

So as we look forward, and as CREDO happens next year, I wonder, what can we do with these amazing revelations.

 

Small Church, New Church, Old Church, Blue Church–the clergy seems to be moving in a similar direction

Especially considering that us Presbyterians believe the Holy Spirit works by consensus 😉

 

 

Ch 7: Angst

Its just a cookbook, I take a deep breath and exhale–careful not to growl this time.

Think about good things…don’t angst out….seriously….is this what living alone for too long means? That everything causes angst?

Good things, Good things.

1) She reads

b) She talks to herself, so she’s crazy, hopefully crazy like me, like in a good way

3…wait was  I counting or going a, b, c….

hmm……seems to be I’m getting more and more confused….

Wait, did she just say her name was Pri?

Ch 6: Waking up

How long did I sleep? I look out the window, no light shines in. I wonder about that. The forest outside was so entrenched that not a droplet of light shone through. I wonder how it is I can see…some light is coming through, but it looks like nothing more than a misty glow.

The candle has guttered, I look at the wick and feel sorry for it.

I should get dressed, but I instead go to the hall, the back of my neck prickles

“Hello? Are you there? Its me, Pri….”

Was that a sigh? Cautiously I look around…nothing.I start to walk down the hallway…trying to keep my elaborate robe tied on, but the silk seems to slip. What is the use of clothing if it can’t stay on I wonder? Frustrated I see the rope for the curtains. Determinedly I grab it and tie it on.

Amazing how small victories can give you confidence. Feeling better, I slip down the rooms seeing what seems to be a study, a ballroom, a music room with many instruments.

Nothing is as well lit as I would like, and nothing feels inviting, so I continue on. Counting the curtains, exclaiming to myself over the decorations. Trying to keep my spirits up.

Oh look, a kitchen!

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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