Rachel Ciupek-Reed graduated from PSR in 2007. After serving as the sabbatical minister for a small congregation in Vermont in the summer, she spent time with her only surviving grandparents, learning about their past and “what life was like at the turn of the 20th century as the daughter of a mixed-race sharecropper in Northern Arkansas, and the son of Polish immigrants in upstate New York.”
Rachel has a number of fond memories of PSR: “from laughter at the breakfast table to wine on the rooftop, and watching the moon over the calm water of the bay in the misty-morning distance.” Valued classroom experiences include her courses in “Pastoral Care and Race” and “Religion and Islamaphobia,” as well as designing a chapel worship service and conversing with faculty about homosexuality and religion.
“I think back to the metaphor of a kaleidoscope presented to each new student the fall of my first year by Rev. Barbara Essex,” says Rachel. “How true it is that the world has opened into many layers and fractal impressions comprised of religion, philosophy, politics, persons, history, science, spaces empty and spaces filled. To learn to walk through a world where there is no simple answer, and yet know that I am able to articulate in simple words my place in that world… this is the best possible preparation to find. How fortunate I am that I found it here at PSR.”
In May 2013 Rachel accepted the call to join the staff of Spirit of Peace UCC as Associate Pastor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.