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Reading Together Since 1999
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Reading Together Since 1999

Susan Baller-Shepard

 Susan in her own words...


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
» October 2014

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-29 @ 21:50 pm

"I am your Mother, Not Your Shelter" poem  Publish Date: 10/09/2014 on WGLT's Poetry Radio Program http://wglt.org/artslife/poetryradio/ Run Time: 4:04 written and read by Susan Baller Shepard; music by Wynton Marsalis and Karen Briggs (Morning Song from Reeltime)  http://wglt.org/podcasts/poetry_radio/audio/100914MOTHER.mp3

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-27 @ 10:40 am

  I jump in. There's no "easing back into" this. There's no easy way to catch a glimpse of myself in a Speedo, even though my friend Nancy assures me the fabric "sucks it all up, in all the right places." The water's warmer than I like, languid, no burst of cold to make me want to warm up quickly. Aqua Fit bobs over there on their side of …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-26 @ 13:40 pm

  From Jesus to Hollywood: Author Jay Parini Perhaps you know his name from his book Jesus: The Human Face of God, or perhaps you know him as author of The Last Station, which was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film? However you might know Jay Parini, Jay's a man of many stories. I asked Jay about his work, here are his answers: Q: As a poet, author of historical fiction, and …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-25 @ 16:15 pm

  10 Wedding Tips from the Mean Minister* *mean, because I care 1. A wedding, a marriage, does not make.  Let's start with this one. Bridal magazines and Pinterest boards don't often speak of this, but I will: Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your marriage, God willing, will last longer than one day. Case in point: Once, a few years after I got married, I …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-19 @ 20:50 pm

      This first appeared May 03, 2014 4:00 am  •  By Susan Baller-Shepard FOR THE PANTAGRAPH   When I'm anxious, the words we say during communion resound in my brain: "And when Jesus had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is …

Posted by Susan Baller-Shepard on: 2014-10-19 @ 16:20 pm

Some day you will stand before the casket, and the last sentence you had with that person is what you'll remember. You'll recall the last smile, the last joke, the last knowing glance, when you caught her eye, and you knew she knew exactly what you were feeling, without saying a word. This will happen. The one you love will die. Maybe you'll be alive for her death, still …