Spiritual Book Club

Reading Together Since 1999
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Reading Together Since 1999

Susan Baller-Shepard

About Susan


I'll forever be indebted to Rabbi Jay Goldstein at University of Iowa, for the way he bridged literature and spirituality in his "Quest for Human Destiny" course.

Writer/Speaker/Minister/College Instructor
Thankful to be a part of this site, to know and love our local spirituality book club group, and for this journey of over twelve years together.Ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), with a dual competency: master of Social Work and master of Divinity. I'm also a writer and I've had the opportunity to be a speaker in a variety of local and global venues.

Having served as a pastor in churches in Springfield, Peoria, and Rochester, Illinois, and I'm currently what's called "a parish associate pastor" at First Presbyterian Church, Normal, Illinois  , which gives me time to edit this site, write for various publications, finish the non-fiction book I've been writing, and do the international work I adore. Active in our Presbytery's partnership with north-eastern Brazil for years, having worked on projects in various parts of Africa, involved with a book about Peter Hesse's work in Haiti, I've turned my focus on global projects helping orphaned children, in the People's Republic of China in particular.

I write a lot. My book Doe is now available from Finishing Line Press and on Amazon

Here is Garrison Keillor reading a poem, "Taking That Bite Before Leaving," a poem from Doe, on The Writer's Almanac.


The writing I've done has appeared in a variety of venues including the Washington Post's "On Faith," the Chicago Tribune, Spirituality & Health magazine, Writer's Digest magazine, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Church & Society, denominational publications, www.rhinopoetry.org, and in every Outrider Press Black and White series anthologies since 2003 with TallGrass Writer's Guild.

Presently I'm working with the fine folks of Writing by Writers and the amazing people involved in Winter DRAFT to complete a new book.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other writing women who rock my world with their wisdom and grace and skill and talent and all of that: the ArmadillHers: Jody Hobbs Hesler, Charmaine Wilkerson, Teresa Burns Gunther. Along with these women there are Ruth Everhart and Judith Valente who have faithfully been writing on this path with me for a long time :-) I'm grateful.

Thanks for coming along on this spiritual journey, enjoy the books, music, links....

Sit back and enjoy our blog of interviews too—

Glad you're here.




Susan Baller-Shepard, MDiv, MSW

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2020-01-15 @ 15:25 pm

TITLE INFORMATION DOE Susan Baller-Shepard Finishing Line Press (102 pp.) $19.99 paperback ISBN: 978-1-63534-904-7; April 12, 2019 Kirkus Reviews BOOK REVIEW A debut collection of verse delivers meditations on nature, womanhood, and a wide range of other topics. Novelists and poets use words differently. The first group heaps sentence on sentence, paragraph on paragraph, creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In this context, individual words matter less. …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2019-08-25 @ 14:50 pm

*Message Sermon #NowIKnow on Day1.org on February 3, 2019 *Preaching at First Presbyterian Church March 3, May 5, August 3, 2019 *Attending the Association of Writing Programs (AWP) conference with the ArmadillHer Writing Group which includes outstanding writers Jody Hobbs Hesler, Charmaine Wilkerson, and Teresa Burns Gunther. *Presenting at the North American Review's 50th Anniversary Conference in April *Poetry Reading at New Covenant Community April 24th *Featured Poet with Tall Grass Writer's Guild on April …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2019-08-25 @ 14:15 pm

http://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-august-22-2019/   Yes, feeling very grateful to get to hear my poem "Taking That Bite Before Leaving" read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac on August 22, 2019. Friends around the country contacted me to tell me they'd heard it, which was a treat. Having listened to The Writer's Almanac, and appreciated hearing poetry read for years by that unmistakable voice, it was such a treat. Thankful. Thankful. Thankful.  …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2019-05-08 @ 13:55 pm

Come Holy Spirit Come! Sermon: Created Courageous to Carry the Story preached at First Presbyterian Church, Normal, IL May 5, 2019 First Reading Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)   1Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2019-03-12 @ 15:40 pm