SAMANTHA MCKEAN. ASSISTANT FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRIES
Samantha grew up in what she calls "a one-stoplight town" in rural central Ohio. She then attended Wheaton College in Illinois, where she graduated with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. While at Wheaton she found the Episcopal Church and became involved in youth ministry at her church. “When I first started attending an Episcopal church, the thing I really fell in love with was the liturgy. My connection with God wasn't dependent on my own experience; I felt carried by something bigger than myself. There were voices other than mine speaking those prayers--both within that space and throughout the world--and I felt buoyed up by them. This is something I've become passionate about in working with youth and young adults--discovering together the ways in which God's love carries us.”
Having taken leadership roles in youth ministry growing up and in college, she spent her first full year after college putting this love into action as the Youth Minister at her church. She also took the affirmative step of being confirmed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Geneva, Illinois in May 2014. These experiences affirmed her growing sense of call to full-time ministry, and Samantha then attended Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. During these three years, she interned with Duke’s Episcopal House of Studies, and through the school’s Field Education Program she worked at several different Episcopal Churches.
This past year she worked at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina with a focus on youth ministry and pastoral relationships with middle and high school students. She graduated this past May with her Master of Divinity degree, was awarded the Jameson Jones Preaching Award and was selected by Duke Divinity to represent the school at the 2017 Excellence in Preaching Conference. She is married to Garrett Zajac, a fellow Wheaton College graduate.
Samantha, through her presence and ministry in Episcopal Churches, has continued to discern a call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. Samantha has fully completed her seminary training and is now officially in the ordination process to be a priest of the Diocese of Georgia. Samantha and Garrett will live at Columba House in Savannah. Columba House is a ministry center for Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Georgia. From this home, Samantha will work to support Young Adult Ministry in Savannah and around the Diocese in addition to her ministry at Christ Church. The ordination process will take approximately 18 months during which time (God willing) Samantha will be ordained a deacon and then a priest while continuing to serve at Christ Church. In the meantime, she will be a full part of the staff, community, and spiritual life of our entire congregation with an intentional ministry focus toward Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Samantha is currently completing a summer term as a Hospital Chaplain in North Carolina and will join the Christ Church staff beginning September 1.