Mary Anona Stoops

Pastor for Adult Formation
 

Mary Anona loves exploring and adventure. She has canoed the Fulton Lake Chain in the Adirondack Mountains, biked through the Katmandu Valley in Nepal, climbed Mayan temples in Guatemala, and hiked the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu. These adventures not withstanding, she is convinced that the greatest adventure of all is the journey into the inner landscape of the soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. This conviction fires Mary Anona’s passion as a pastor and spiritual director. And so, even as she joins with congregations to follow Jesus out into the world, she also invites them to seek the Holy within themselves; to wander into the inner landscape of the heart and behold how the light and shadows fall there, trusting that the Spirit that creates and sustains the outer world is also present and active deep within.

Mary Anona has served congregations in Melbourne, Australia; Rochester, New York; Nashville, Tennessee; and Hastings, Nebraska, and is delighted to now be serving at North Decatur Presbyterian Church in the realm of adult formation, with a particular eye toward the care and spiritual nurture of older adults. She lives in Decatur with her husband, Trace Haythorn, and two children, Jacob and Martha. Praying with her daughter, meals with family, tea with friends, yoga, hiking, knitting, and reading poetry are some of the practices that keep her grounded and open to the adventure of life.

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