A community connected to each other, to God, and to the world, in order to make heaven a present reality
You describe yourself as an introvert with an extrovert on/off switch. What do you mean by that?
By nature I'm a bookworm. At my core I am energized and most productive during times that are spent alone. Being in places that involve quiet contemplation and solitude are heavenly to me. The funny thing is that those who are around me when I am in positions of leadership would think that I am an extrovert! And that's because when I'm
Samantha at a Glance
preaching or teaching, I am in fact an extrovert. The extrovert switch is on. But by the time I get home it's off again because I will be completely drained and must take the time to recharge.
What was your first job?
I worked for my Dad at his printing store a couple of times. My first
day there was spent double checking the print job on an order of
cookbooks they printed. I sat there for hours turning the pages of
every book to make sure each page was in order and printed evenly.
It was monotony at its finest!
How many different places have you lived?
I have lived in the following locations: Covington, VA (my hometown),
Roanoke, VA, Raleigh, NC, Atlanta, GA, Centreville, VA, Herndon, VA,
and Leesburg, VA.
Where did you go to school?
Post high school I attended Ferrum College, where I got my BS in
Environmental Science (plus a minor in Biology), and did my seminary
work at Candler School of Theology (located at Emory University) in
How many pets do you have?
We have two dogs, Hannah and Tybee, and a handful of random
tropical fish in a fish tank.
How do you like to spend your time?
More than anything, I love spending time with my family. I love to
travel, I love the ocean, I love to snorkel, and I love, love, love the
Caribbean! Blue water makes me very happy!
Why do you want to start a progressive faith community?
Do you have any weird talents that others might not know about?
I can name just about any species of tree and wildflower on the east
coast! And I can identify many birds and frogs by their sounds!
What's the best thing about being a mom?
I love being a mom. I would have to say that the best part is watching
my children experience life. Everything is new, exciting, and
spectacular to them. Being able to see them explore their world and
take it all in and to know that I get to be a part of that miracle is just
Samantha Tuttle is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Prior to joining the UCC, she was a pastor at Centreville United Methodist Church and Dranesville United Methodist Church. She is married to her husband, Mike, who is an aerospace engineer at Orbital Sciences. They have two children, Noah, six and Audrey, four.
My faith and spiritual life have always been extremely important to me. However, it wasn’t until I attended seminary that I became aware of a much deeper and richer understanding of what it really means to be the church, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus and his teachings. I grew up in a pretty conservative area where the questions about God were met with easy black and white answers. Looking back, I think they were the only answers that anyone I knew was aware of. And just like many families, cultures, and geographical areas out there, they are the same answers that get passed down from generation to generation. Being a Christian was more about
fire insurance, i.e. placing your faith in Jesus so that you can go to heaven when you die. That’s what many of us were taught growing up. I simply was not aware that there were different kinds of Christians or that the Bible could be interpreted any differently than what the words on the page said at face value. Until I went to seminary, I had never knowingly met a Christian Democrat! I honestly didn’t know they existed! So it’s no surprise to see that my seminary experience felt in some way like going off to boot camp and having my whole world view and the sacred faith that I had inherited turned upside down. And although I felt my faith at that time being challenged, my time of study and reflection was extremely liberating for me. What a relief it was to discover that God really IS all loving,
that God isn’t out to punish me, that my gay and lesbian friends are not going to hell, that it’s okay to question, to doubt, to get angry at God, and to know that not only is God not always in control, but that not everything happens for a reason. I finally found affirmation for what my heart had been telling me all along. And I was finally set free from the guilt I had been feeling from thinking that my heart was somehow out of alignment with what I had been taught about God growing up. This is why I want to start a new faith community. Because I know that I am not alone. I know that there are others out there who yearn to be among others who share the same convictions.
I want to create a space of belonging that they haven’t been able to find. I want to offer others permission to explore their faith and spirituality, and to do it knowing that they are in no way disrespecting the faith that has been passed down to them. I want them to know that they are simply honoring what their hearts are telling them. And I want them to know that there is more to Jesus than just getting fire insurance. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It’s right now. I want to be a part of a movement that partners with God in bringing to life Jesus‘ prayer for God’s will to be done on earth right now, in the present moment, as it is in heaven.