The Rev. Heather Ghormley, Priest

User Profile
The Rev. Heather Ghormley, Priest
Church Info
Home Church Address
Tree of Life Anglican Church
839 Woodcliff Dr.
South Bend, IN 46615
United States
Church Website URL
Organization Name
Tree of Life Anglican Church
Type of Organization
Church Ministry
Your Position/Title within your Organization
Pastor/ Rector
Organization Address
839 Woodcliff Dr.
South Bend, IN 46615
United States
Organization Phone Number
Organization URL
Work of Ministry
Battered Women
Community Development
Racial Reconciliation
Refugees within North America
Substance Abuse/Addiction
Youth Development/At-risk Youth
Organization Email
Description of Organization
Tree of Life Anglican Church is a multi-ethnic, neighborhood church reaching our neighbors with the reconciling love of Jesus Christ. In addition to regular worship and fellowship we host a neighborhood youth ministry and an Immigration Legal-Aid Clinic.
Organization Years In Operation
Does your ministry offer internships?
Yes, college internship(s).
Yes, post-graduate internship(s).
Strengths of Organization
We have a very close knit worshipping community comprised of people of very diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. Most of our members are actively engaged in mission to our neighborhood.
Would you consider your role part time or full time within justice and mercy ministry?
Full Time
How many years have you been in ministry among the vulnurable, marginalized, and under-resourced?
What training did you receive that equipped you for justice and mercy ministries?
I interned with several different urban and multicultural ministries starting during my time at Wheaton College and ending at what is now All Nation's Anglican Church in New Haven, CT under the mentoring of Rev. Geoff Little who is also at this conference! I also had several overseas ministry experiences in Peru and China. In terms of formal training, I deeply valued some African-American literature classes I was able to take during my undergraduate degree as they have helped me understand much more about the context in which I am now ministering. I also appreciated some classes I took during seminary on the Ethics of Assistance.
What are your primary concerns for the ministry?
We want to build a church that welcomes, disciples and celebrates the different ethnic groups represented in our community. One of my concerns right now is that while we are doing a good job reaching youth, providing a much needed service of mercy to immigrants and building a healthy Anglican congregation the overlap between these ministries is relatively small. My prayer is that these communities would begin interacting more and more so that we could all strengthen and challenge one another.
What feels like the most difficult aspect of your life in ministry?
Right now it's keeping my focus on Christ and his power to transform lives as we balance so many ministries and especially the logistical-side of immigration ministry.
What gives you the greatest joy?
Watching the Lord set people free both legally and spiritually. I also have immense joy at watching the unlikely friendships that form across racial and ethnic barriers in our church.
What spiritual disciplines help sustain you in your rhythms of life among the vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced?
Daily Scripture reading and contemplative prayer, as well as a strict schedule of being with my family.
What would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to know about your ministry?
There are untold numbers of immigrants in most communities in the USA. Many do not have spiritual homes and are desperately in need of the comfort of Christ. The mission field has come to us. By offering simple helps such as legal-aid, translation, English lessons or just a cup of tea on a lazy afternoon we can extend the welcome of Christ to those who already know they are strangers on this earth and so find beautiful companions for our journey.
How would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to grow in regards to justice and mercy issues?
Please do not see immigrants as threats to America but as souls in need of Christ. Especially in regards to the many new refugees from the Islamic countries, we can be tempted to follow the example of many in our world and treat them as enemies. However, Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Many people from the Muslim world are searching deep in their hearts for a better way but they have heard all kinds of falsehoods about the West. We in the church have an opportunity to present them with the medicine of Christ through our love and kindness. Learn what you can about Islam and the Middle East and then have the courage to break down the walls and extend love. Our generation will be responsible for how we handle this moment.
What are your favorite books related to justice and mercy issues?
Cry the Beloved Country, Allen Paton Beloved, Toni Morrison The writings of Dorothy Day The Gospel of Matthew The writings of St. Theresa of Calcutta
What are your favorite movies related to justice and mercy issues?
The Mission
What do you wish people knew about justice ministry in general or specific arenas of justice work?
I'll speak specifically about immigration ministry. I wish that people realized how many of the immigrants among us have endured serious traumas that place them in need of healing communities. It breaks my heart that our society is comfortable with allowing immigrant communities to keep to themselves. The brave people who come and live in our nation from other places often have much to teach us and display a strength of spirit that surprises me on a regular basis. They also need advocates. I've been shocked at how difficult it is for people from other countries to navigate life in our country, not only because it is different but because their voices are not taken seriously by those in power.
What would you like to see happen in ACNA in regards to work of justice and mercy?
I would like us to be famous for being a church that not only love the poor but is comprised of the poor.
Tell us a bit about your story and your heart for justice and mercy.
I grew up in a household of two ministries. My father was a Presbyterian pastor at a mid-sized upper middle-class parish and my mother worked with Urban Young Life. When I was in college the Lord gave me a very specific vision to help the church do what the para-church often does. The church should be welcoming people at the margins so that those who benefit from ministry to the least of these can be welcomed into an actual church family. My God's grace that vision has come to fruition through the ministry of Tree of Life Anglican Church.