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Parishioner Spotlight: Alicia Anderson

by Ebet Peeples, Assistant to the Rector

Alicia Anderson’s family started attending Calvary when she was about five years old. A few years later she was baptized and then confirmed. In high school she became heavily involved in parish life: she served as an acolyte, was active in EYC, traveled to Honduras with Calvary twice, and during her 12th-grade year helped with programming for middle school youth.

She says of her Calvary upbringing, “I am immensely grateful for the religious education and positive social experiences I got from Calvary, particularly in my teenage years. I have so many friends who grew up in other churches and became disenchanted with Christianity during college and have not attended church since. Sunday school classes at Calvary forced me to question my faith in that wonderful Episcopal tradition, so when I went off to a liberal arts college and took philosophy classes, I did not have the common experience of losing my faith, because it had already been shaped into maturity and complexity. Because of my values and passions, I have to attend an urban church, one that is focused on social justice, and one that encourages the marriage of faith with logic and reason. I thank God I have all this in the church I grew up in and did not have to go searching once I reached adulthood.”

After college, Alicia returned to Calvary and quickly became involved again. In the last few years, she has taught Sunday school for middle school where she “hopes to make a positive impact on Calvary’s kids during their formative years.” She also sings in the Community Choir and, more recently, was part of the capital campaign discernment group. 

Alicia is a passionate supporter of Lives Worth Saving, Calvary’s ministry of love and support to survivors of sex trafficking. She says about the ministry, “The women who participate in the program have experienced suffering most of us could never imagine. I am often reminded of our baptismal covenant—to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. It bothers me greatly that these women are not respected in society when the vast majority of the time they are in this situation out of desperation or force, or because they are victims of abuse. They are worthy of great respect, as they have seen the worst of humanity and are still survivors.”

Since graduating from college in 2012, she has worked for A Step Ahead Foundation, an organization familiar to many at Calvary. In organizing their community outreach, research, and social media, Alicia is able “to combine my loves of social justice, poverty alleviation, and realizing the potential of women.” When not working, Alicia sings with the Memphis Women’s Chorale, volunteers through the Junior League, experiments with new recipes, runs or walks along the river on Mud Island, spends time with family and friends, and dreams big dreams.

When asked what feeds her soul, Alicia listed, “music, both singing and listening; being in nature; being with people I love; traveling; being removed from my comfort zone; receiving communion, stillness and silence; and reading about theology and other people’s faith journeys. Right now she is reading The Kingdom Within: The Inner Meaning of Jesus’ Sayings by John A. Sanford, which she describes as “very enlightening.” Recently she enjoyed Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak, and credits the classic Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis with “helping shape my faith.” 

Posted by Robyn Maudlin at 9:21 AM
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