Rev. Deborah (Debi) Hasdorff
To Find God
To Know God
To Serve God
I grew up the granddaughter of a Presbyterian pastor, and my mother was known to evoke the phrase "your grandfather would roll over in his grave if he saw you..."
As a child my family moved frequently for my father's career and I experienced many different Presbyterian churches that nurtured my faith and involved me in communities of care and compassion. In my teenage years, however, my family landed in a conservative church, racked by conflict and tension between Charismatic and Traditional Presbyterians. At a time in my life when I was questioning and judgmental in the ways that teenagers can be, I rebelled against the "hypocrisy" I experienced, and the ethos of the church that discouraged questions and doubts, denied the negative effects of Christianity across history, and stressed doctrine over action. I couldn't connect with the requirement that I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior in order to become and adult member of the congregation. When I left for college, I believed that I had rejected Christianity - but Christianity had not left me behind.
My family and friends were shocked when I chose seminary for graduate school. I enjoyed the academic study of history, religion, women's studies, political science, and psychology, and could not choose a focus. So, I went to seminary intending to pursue an academic degree. I chose Chicago Theological Seminary, at the recommendation of a mentor. At CTS, I found a community of intellectual, spiritual, and socially active Christians, who taught me of the existence of Progressive Christianity. It was a life-changing experience to discover that people across centuries had asked the same questions and doubted the same doctrines that had seemed to me to be non-negotiable requirements to be a Christian. I learned about the historical Jesus, and a process of understanding scripture that was metaphorical and included the continuing revelations of science, history, and literature. I was taught by accomplished professors who not only excelled professionally, but cared deeply about their students. I left seminary convicted with a different faith, a faith I had never known existed, that allowed me to use my mind, my soul and my actions to follow a Jesus I had never known and to whom I was now committed as a disciple.
I have served churches in suburban Connecticut, rural Eastern Washington, and suburban Cheney, Washington. I have been the pastor at Parkview United Church of Christ in White Bear Lake since 2010, and have come to know and respect the community of faith, love, and action that exists in this congregation. I am a single mother of four adult children, and I share my home with a rescue dog named “Sarah.” I am fascinated by what makes people tick, and how they face the joys and challenges of life. And I continue to doubt, to question, to search, and to deepen my faith. I invite you to join our community at Parkview United Church of Christ, to find a place where whoever you are, wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome.
Rev. Deborah (Debi) Hasdorff