Greetings! I’m Stacey Fussell and I have been so blessed to be a part of this process as you discern who God is calling to be the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. Thank you for allowing me to walk with you thus far.
I was born on the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, FL, but I was raised from infancy in New Orleans, LA. That makes me almost a native New Orleanian, especially since I marched for color guard in Mardi Gras parades. Although both my parents were from Southern Baptist backgrounds, I was raised in The Episcopal Church and have the stories of serving as an acolyte to prove it. As a young adult I moved to Houston following a job transfer with Shell Oil Company and added youth group leader and altar guild stories to my repertoire. It was also while I lived in Houston that I discerned a call to ordained ministry.
I received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of St. Thomas and I went directly to VTS (Virginia Theological Seminary) sponsored from the Diocese of Texas in 1995. I returned to the Houston area to serve three years at a wonderful parish in the refinery town of Baytown. After an 18-month curacy I was thrust into a position as interim priest-in-charge at Trinity and worked with a consultant and parish leaders to guide the parish through an intentional interim and helped the congregation prepare to have a healthy and fruitful relationship and ministry with the next called rector. I left Trinity in 2001 in response to the call to serve as a church planter in a new master-planned community southeast of Houston.
I spent nine very happy and rewarding years at St. Catherine’s as we moved from meeting in a storefront through construction of our first physical church building to opening a thriving church preschool. One of the great joys of serving there was being able to share ministry with so many new-to-the-church folks from so many diverse backgrounds – we grew to have 17 different nationalities represented in our church family. It was also while at St. Catherine’s that I was blessed to become a foster-adoptive mother through Child Protective Services.
I accepted a call to serve as rector at Ascension in Bradford in the Diocese of Northwest Pennsylvania in 2010. I have been privileged to serve this historic, rural/small town parish during a time of revisioning that has seen growth and new life in the congregation despite ministering in a depopulating region. We have broadened and embraced our understanding of what The Episcopal Church ‘should’ look like and have begun new ministries that serve and reach others with God’s love. Ascension is now known in our community as a church where all sorts and conditions of people can find a church home.
I find great joy in servant leadership in the church. I am particularly passionate about guiding folks to have an encounter and/or deepen their relationship with Christ. I believe that the Gospel offers “Good News of Great Joy for All People” and am especially passionate to see that good news shared with those who have been for too long excluded from receiving that great joy because of social or economic status; race or nationality; sexual orientation or gender identity; intellectual or physical ability; gender or age. I am committed to helping followers of Jesus discover the joys of thinking and reflecting on their faith in theological terms and then equipping them to bring that theological thought and reflection to bear as we work to bring hope, healing and wholeness to our communities. I am nourished by worshipping in the richness and beauty of the Anglican tradition and delight in sharing that nourishment with others. And I relish the opportunity to help God’s people discern, articulate and manifest the vision that God is calling us to live into for the sake of God’s Kingdom in a particular time and place.
When asked about hobbies, I’m tempted to say, “I don’t have hobbies, I have teenagers!” In truth, spending time with and enjoying my 2 daughters is the primary joy of my personal life. Christina is almost 17 and is a dedicated volunteer and serves in leadership in Key Club at the local and state level. Catherine is 14 and excels at all things musical and keeps busy singing, dancing and playing several instruments. As a family we enjoy exploring new places, discussing current events and watching and mocking some mind-numbing reality TV. Personally, I am a voracious reader, modest poet and occasional needlecrafter. We all serve as staff to the very spoiled resident cats with whom we live.
I ask for your continued prayers as we journey together in this time of discernment and assure you that you faithfully remain in mine.