Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet The Rev. Karen Haig

"The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work God will give us to do..."  --Corrie ten Boom

These good and true words have long been foundational to my spiritual life. As the beloved community, we are called to bring Christ’s reconciling love into a world that hungers both for bread and for the bread of life. Our church is uniquely equipped for this work - grounded in Word and sacrament, we engage the mystery of God with open hearts, curious minds and wonderful liturgical imagination. We have been blessed, and ours is to share that blessing with the world. I feel particularly blessed to have been called into this work with you, here at St Thomas. The prospect of sharing our lives, our worship and prayer, and of living out the Good News of God’s redeeming love with you gives me more joy than you can imagine. Each time we experience the richness of being the Body of Christ in particular place with particular people, we are blessed in ways we might never otherwise have imagined.

While I hope to come to know each one of you in the not-so-distant future, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my life prior to St Thomas so that you might begin to know me! I am married to Jim Friedrich, an Episcopal priest (about to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his priesthood) who calls himself an “Itinerant Religious Imagineer.” He is an avid runner and hiker, filmmaker (The Story of Anglicanism), writer, creative liturgist and musician, with a deep love of God and the Church. We’ve been married just over five years and feel utterly blessed by our lives together. My son Simon is 26 years old, a graduate student at Seattle University and one of the brightest lights in my life. Simon is studying toward a Master of Teaching degree and hopes to teach high school history and social studies. Teaching in public schools is an act of social justice for Simon, who believes strongly in equal access to excellence in education. A baseball player through college, Simon also coaches a 13-14 year old Bainbridge Island baseball team.

My career prior to seminary was as a business management consultant to small businesses and non-profits, and as co-founder, business manager and director for Earth & Space Research, a non-profit scientific institute doing climate change research through physical oceanography. I was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island (Bishop’s Committee Membership Coordinator, Eucharistic Minister, Adult Faith Formation Coordinator and presenter, Retreat & Quiet Day Facilitator, etc…), and it was there that I discerned a call to ordained ministry. I was, and continue to be supported, nurtured and encouraged by the people of Grace, and am grateful for my time and formation there.

I am a recent graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific – the Episcopal Seminary of the West located in Berkeley, California – where Jim and I lived for three years. CDSP is one of nine seminaries and several other ecumenical institutes that make up the Graduate Theological Union. In addition to three years of classes at the Episcopal seminary, I had the privilege of studying theology with the Jesuits, spirituality with the Franciscans, and Christian Education with the Lutherans.. all that and the finest theological library west of the Mississippi! My time in seminary was an extraordinary educational gift, and I indulged in every possible book, lecture, conversation, paper and sermon! Concentrating in theology, liturgy, pastoral care and preaching, my studies have been put to good use in my service as hospital chaplain, creative liturgist, pastoral care-giver and preacher in the US and in Panama. During my three years in seminary, my husband Jim was busy researching, writing and teaching at the Graduate Theological Union.

I have come to understand that seminary formation is not purely academic. Residential seminary offers the valuable opportunity to live in an intentional Christian community, and that experience too has profoundly influenced my formation. I know clearly how much our lives and relationships deepen as we pray the offices and celebrate Eucharist together, as we make difficult decisions through the process of discernment, as we celebrate the sacramental nature of life and death, as we love and support one another and offer our gifts to heal a world in need of God’s redeeming love.

And now I’ve been called to St Thomas at this exciting time of new beginnings. Having talked with some of you and met with the vestry and many of the staff, I have witnessed the good and holy work you are committed to. And I am beginning to see who you are as the Body of Christ… how lovingly you care for each other, and how willing you are to give of yourselves in service to God and God’s creation. Your desire to build a future where St Thomas will be a part of the wider community for generations to come is beautiful to behold. Your trust in God’s abundance and in each other is evident in your commitment to building a Parish Life Center that will serve us well today, and in the future serve the many who have yet to find their way to us.

I feel so blessed to have been called into this community. Know that you are daily in my heart and prayers and that I thank our God for putting me in your midst. May God richly bless you as you have already blessed me.

In Christ’s abundant love, Karen


  1. Welcome, Karen! I'm excited to do ministry with you.

  2. Karen,

    Thanks for sharing part of your spiritual journey with us.


    Bob Simeone

  3. Congratulations, Karen. All of us at CDSP are happy to hear the news!

  4. Dearest Karen, I am thrilled you found such a wonderful parish to share your talents with. I am sorry I have not kept in touch much during your seminary time and hope, now that you are back up North, we might get together now and then. Also feel free to drop me a line if you would like a morning (afternoon, or evening :-) of Cursillo music from The Grace Notes! Lots of love, Ellen Green, Bainbridge Island

  5. Welcome to St. Thomas Karen! I think today is your first day and I'm thinking of you, praying for you and looking forward to meeting you soon. Best regards - Sunni Bannon

  6. Karen, Jim and I know each other from the clergy conference this past spring. I immediately felt a bond with them both, and I know we'll all have a wonderful time with Karen at St. Thomas. She is simply a gem!