Greetings! My name is Luke Pigott, and I am emailing you because, beginning September 11, I will be stepping into the role that was previously held by Margaret Somerville in regards to youth education and fellowship. I have very big shoes to fill! I met Margaret in Spring 2016 semester at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, when I was assisting the instructor of her Church & Society course. As you might imagine, I was quickly impressed by her great academic work, her kindness, and her propensity for baked goods. She asked if I would be willing to interview for this position because she wanted to know “her kids” were in good hands, and I said yes!
As a church, Gladwyne’s reputation has preceded my interview. I knew of your involvement in POWER, Heeding God’s call, and so forth, and was very excited by the possibility of working there. Todd and I have had some great conversations, and I really feel “at home” with everyone I have met so far. You all have really cultivated a wonderful community of faith. As I shared with Todd recently, I have chosen to accept this position in an interim capacity (up until around Christmas). There are a few reasons for this, but the primary one is that I feel called to return to the south to be closer to my family, and also be able to support my partner as she studies for ordination in the south. That said, however, I take the role I am assuming very seriously, and hope to establish deep relationships with your kids, as we learn together from God, the scriptures, and life!
I feel like I should share a bit more about my background. I grew up Southern Baptist in the deep south, and left both that church body and geographical region after college. I graduated with a B.A. in Religion and History from William Carey University. I then relocated to the Philadelphia suburbs to study Theology at Villanova University, and graduated with an M.A. in 2013. I’ll spare you the gory details of my academic CV. The part which I think is most important is that, while in the Netherlands to give a paper at an academic conference in 2014, I met my wonderful partner, who is currently finishing up her Ph.D. at Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam, and wants to study for ordination at Sewanee beginning in fall 2017. From graduation in 2013 up until now, I have worked as an adjunct professor of Theology, Philosophy, and Humanities courses for Villanova and Saint Joseph’s University, although my passion, both in regards to research and activism, is those who are dealing with the pain and consequences of incarceration in the United States. Because of this passion/interest, I have been teaching college courses primarily inside of Graterford prison (for Villanova) for the past few years. I recently got to see my first cohort graduate with B.A.’s in general studies (one worked extra hard to get a theology minor), and it was a very emotional moment in my life. I’m also the head roaster for Backyard Beans Coffee Company, and I am a musician. Some of my original music has been used for film scores, and one of my current bands (The Chairman Dances) just released a record of songs about Christian activists that is getting national radio play, write-ups in secular music publications, and we are getting invited to play at places like the original Catholic Worker house started by Dorothy Day. I’m really proud of everything I have been able to do so far in Philadelphia. The Lord has blessed me with a lot of opportunities to offer my gifts. This semester with your children will, in some ways, be the culmination of all of that. It’s an extremely important job, and it will stretch me to rethink everything in order to turn it into fun, kid/young adult-friendly sessions for us to share together.