LOUISVILLE, KY: PFR announces the recipients of the 2012-2013 Lydia Scholarship. The Lydia Scholarship is given annually to an evangelical woman pursuing pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church. This year the field of applicants was so strong that we actually have two winners: Kari Olson who will be attending Princeton Theological Seminary and Kris Johnson who will graduate from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2013.
Kari Olson is an inquirer from University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. She earned a BA in Theology and Speech Communications with a minor in biblical languages from Whitworth University. Kari has served in children, youth, family, and pastoral ministries at University Church as well as Manito and Whitworth Community Presbyterian Churches in Spokane. She has also volunteered as a Young Life leader at an urban high school and has worked as an administrative assistant for the regional Young Life office.
Kris Johnson is a candidate from Boston Presbytery who grew up in Illinois. She earned a BA in Spanish literature from Cornell University and has also studied at the Universities of Madrid, Guadalajara, and Saltillo. Kris had a career in general brokerage and securities-registered real estate in Hawaii and mortgage banking in Seattle as well as serving as a Director of Conferences and Events for Tokai University. Kris has volunteered in many teaching and service ministries and is a state-certified domestic abuse intervention counselor. She has three children and two grandchildren.
Our recipients have very different faith journeys, but both share a strong desire to serve in pastoral ministry, a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, and the ability to share in an inspiring way all that God has done for them in Jesus Christ.
Kari shares her faith, “I believe that God in Jesus Christ acted on my behalf before I was aware and the Holy Spirit enables me to respond in faith and obedience...I learned to cling tightly to the hope we have in Christ even in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances. It is only because I believe that God is absolutely capable of redeeming any situation that I continued to serve in tragic situations.”
Kris writes of her faith, “I grew to know Jesus better as my personal Savior, moved by His sacrifice for us, and our total lack of being deserving in any way of his atoning death and imparted life. Our helplessness and God’s initiating grace have repeatedly cut to my soul...When my daughter got cancer, people asked, ‘Why her? Why you?’ And I felt I had to answer, ‘Why us indeed? What did we ever do to deserve God’s saving grace and God’ presence?’”
Despite these trying times within our Presbyterian family, both of our new Lydians are hopeful about the future. Kari Olson takes strength from the book of Habakkuk. “I believe that God is sovereign and still has ‘a vision for the appointed time’… just as God entirely unexpectedly used the Babylonians to accomplish his work in Habakkuk’s day, I believe God will accomplish his work in our day in ways we don’t expect. Therefore, I continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see what God is doing in our day and to show us how we can participate.”
Kris Johnson writes of her own experience in the Presbyterian Church, “The Church I had first loved, then left in condescension, then ignored in disgust for years, was not and perhaps had never been what I had at various point perceived her to be. At her best, the Presbyterian Church in her various incarnations has stood firm on scripture as our foundation for life and godliness...She still offers the historic connection not only with our Reformation forefathers and mothers but also with believers in the early church and with heroes of faith as far back as the beginning of biblical history...[I] am convinced there is hope.”
Congratulations to our 2012-2013 Lydia scholarship winners, Kari Olson and Kris Johnson.