I Am Wilshire – Vanessa Vaughter.
Education: Lake Highlands High School, BBA from UT Austin, MDiv from Duke Divinity School, MSW from UT Arlington
Profession: Clinical social worker/therapist
Present city: McKinney
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Woody, and I met at a United Methodist clergy event, had our first date that January and were married by June. Five years ago, Drake, our adorable malti-poo, joined our family and brought more joy into our home. We are blessed to be near my mom, two sisters and Woody’s son, Jordan.
How about your work or volunteer life?
My work journey has been varied and taken me all over the world. Each job offered experiences and learnings that informed the next. Following being asked to withdraw from the United Methodist clergy, God placed loving, encouraging mentors in my life and led me to the work and ministry I do today — trauma therapy.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Since 2010, Woody and I have sung with Credo CommUNITY Choir, singing peace, justice and connection into the world when violence and fear seek to isolate us.
What brought you to Wilshire and when?
We came following the intentional choice Wilshire made to include EVERY BODY — and stayed because you meant it!
Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
Carillon Ringers, Epiphany Class, teaching adult classes.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I grew up at White Rock United Methodist Church surrounded by adults who loved, guided and laughed with me. During college I fell away, but music called me back to the church. When living in New York City, I fell away due to work schedules and was called back by the liturgy of the church. In seminary, I struggled to call myself “feminist” and reconcile being a woman called to ministry. As pastor of two United Methodist churches in small towns, I learned the power fear of change can have over a congregation, and I did not have the wisdom to guide them through it. I was devastated when asked to relinquish my ordination with no reason given. God led others into my life who offered affirmation and hope. Corporate America, ironically, helped me heal and connect with a larger, deeper faith. When God called me to serve in a new way, another guided me to become a social worker. Every day I am blessed to hold sacred space for another while God provides love and healing. Therapists are trained to hold their client with “unconditional, positive regard,” which allows space for healing. Is that not what God calls us to offer?
- If you’d like to be featured in “I Am Wilshire,” email Carolyn Murray at email@example.com.