St. Stephen Welcomes Rev. Dr. Elizabeth J. Callender, New Interim Pastor
Welcome, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth J. Callender
On Wednesday Nov. 8, the Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Callender became St. Stephen’s new Interim Pastor. Before being called to St. Stephen, Rev. Callender was the Director of Ministry Development for Grace Presbytery where among her many duties, she helped prepare young ministers for their pastoral responsibilities. She also helped identify, recruit, and train leaders and members of committees, task forces, and administrative commissions within Grace Presbytery. Before joining the Grace Presbytery staff, Rev. Callender was the Pastor at Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church in Dallas for over eight years. While there, she participated in several committees and commissions to support churches within Grace Presbytery.
Rev. Callender studied at Rice University and graduated with a Bachelor of Industrial Design with Highest Honors from The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She began her professional career as an architectural, interior, and industrial designer for firms in New York City and Dallas. However, as the century turned she felt a higher calling and pursued a Master of Divinity in Systematic Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. She later pursued doctoral studies at The Institute for Theology, Imagination, and The Arts at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She completed her doctorate in Systematic Theology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Rev. Callender describes one of her most rewarding experiences coming in 2022 when she helped plan and resource the Racial Justice Pilgrimage of the Social Justice Task Force of Grace Presbytery. The first goal was to help participants understand the basis for racial tensions that persist and the experience of the African American community. The second goal was to develop leadership skills for managing conflict and addressing the causes of persistent racial problems. Beyond this pilgrimage experience, she has carried her transformational leadership and support activities into the outreach of Grace Presbytery to local churches.
Rev. Callender lives in Dallas with her daughter and 4-year-old granddaughter who brings her great joy, while her son lives in Maryland.
Please take an opportunity to introduce yourself to Elizabeth. You will find her personality warm and friendly, her conversation sprinkled with spiritual and Biblical references, and her faith deep and compelling. In her own words, “My greatest desire is to walk with individuals as they discover and are drawn into the life-changing love of God.”