The Rev. Joan Stewart is a 2003 graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Joan has been involved with WV Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps since 2003, and has been the Executive Director since 2006.
Born in WV, Joan spent most of her adult life in North Carolina (Fayetteville and Wilmington). Note: she swore to never return to WV. A mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico with St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wilmington changed her life. She became involved in mission and mission coordinating, and soon realized that her life as a banker was not what she wanted to be. Having sung the song “Here I Am Lord” one too many times, she finally gave in and went to seminary. Her plans to get a Masters in Christian Education evolved into adding a Masters in Divinity. Despite telling God she had no plans to preach or be the pastor of a church, Joan soon found herself called to Montgomery Presbyterian Church, Montgomery, WV and her sister church Falls View Presbyterian in Falls View. So much for never coming back to WV….
Mission was her heart’s calling. Praying about how to become a mission location, Joan spoke with the former Executive Director of WVMAW, Bonnie (Mallott) Gilson, about what it would take. It seemed complicated, and Joan told God, “You are going to have to make it easier than that!” An hour later she received a call from friend Bette Jean Aman from St. Andrews-Covenant in Wilmington who asked, “What if we helped build a place to come and do mission at your church?” I have never had a prayer answered so quickly or so clearly in my life!
Joan’s husband Tim became the Site Supervisor and together they have been partners in mission. When Bonnie decided to move to Texas in 2006, with much prayer and excitement Joan became the Executive Director—as well as a quarter time pastor of the two churches. In 2009 she became full time Executive Director, and now she and husband Tim live on a small farm in Nettie, WV with their three dogs and a cat.
“Everything I have been is who I am—that is what God has used. I always say that we GET to do this! It still takes my breath to ponder the promise from Joel: God said I will repay you for the years the locust has eaten….”
A great article about Joan was published in Presbyterians Today. Click here, and the scroll to the third story to read it.