We are delighted to introduce you to our staff team in the coming weeks. This week, meet Susan Smetzer-Anderson, Upper House’s Brand Manager and Senior Writer. Susan has been at Upper House for two and a half years, working to discern the needs of our community and to give voice to the stories unfolding in this transformative space.

Susan, how has your role at Upper House furthered your faith journey?

Upper House is such a unique place. Dynamic. Energetic. Spirit- and light-filled. A place where ideas are discussed and faith is pursued in tandem. Before I came here, I often worked solo, and while I prayed about my work, those prayers were private and I sometimes felt alone. Here we regularly pray about our work—together—a practice I have found to be deeply encouraging and  transformative. We know that God cares about us, our relationships, and all that we do. Together we acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit in our decision-making and organizational life. We acknowledge our dependence on God and are able to openly share our personal and corporate needs and desires. We also can remind one another of all the ways God has answered prayer and been present to us. The rhythm of prayer, petition, remembering, and praise brings me life, and I am enormously grateful to work in a place where prayer and work go hand-in-hand.

What part of the Upper House project has intrigued/inspired you the most? 

Upper House’s vision to help people integrate heart, mind, soul, and vocation aligns with God’s desire for us to know and live out our identity as children made in God’s holy image. This vision is vital, I think, because many of us struggle to bring the taut threads of our being together; we feel fragmented and wonder… What does it look like to be “wholly” God’s? To fully grasp that our gifts, traits, and personhood are knit together for good purposes? To integrate faith and vocation, and gain strength and purpose, in the process? I’m learning about these things as I participate in this community. And I’m excited to invite others to learn and grow with us. 

What is one of the best pieces of advice you have been given?  

When I was in college one of my biology professors observed that I had a habit of hiding my light under a bushel.” He kindly called me out for keeping my insights to myself. Jesus in Matthew 5:15 says “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (NRSV) Basically, we all bear the light of life within us. We are children of God with gifts to share. I’m still learning how to share mine—to not hide them “under a bushel basket.” Thankfully, I have teammates who call me forth to share them. We can do that for each other, wherever we are: Call out one another’s gifts. If we do this we all gain. I’m grateful that my biology professor called me out; he was right on. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. 

Susan is always willing to listen, pray, and reflect on the obvious and not-so-obvious stories unfolding in Upper House and the lives of the people around her. She also loves to take pictures! Feel free to ask her about both whenever you’re in the space. Next week, we’ll interview Cam Anderson!