Theresa Brion’s official title is Director of Chaplaincy Services, but that barely describes all that she does here at GHBC. In addition to her formal chaplain responsibilities, she is quick to support any of us who might need her and seems always available whether she is officially on call or not. She works on interdisciplinary teams, attends Zoom workshops, and participates in Spiritual Life Committee activities. She also updates posts on the In Memoriam page of the resident website and is available to help plan memorial services (both internally and externally) as needed.
Theresa grew up in Staunton, Virginia, and attended Longwood University, where she was a freshman the first year the school admitted male residential students. She focused on math and social studies, with the aim of becoming a teacher but, after teaching a variety of subjects in middle school and high school, she decided that she “wasn’t a good teacher,” in part because her size and youth made it difficult to earn respect from the administration and students. Deciding to change career paths, she went to the Washington and Lee School of Law, where she focused on estates and trusts and was the co-director for the student Western Mental Hospital Legal Aid Clinic. She began working at several large, international law firms. where she practiced in the areas of employee benefits, ERISA (retirement security), and taxation. After serving as an “outside” author for several large tax/ERISA publishers, she discovered that she enjoyed legal writing, and eventually devoted her professional time to designing, writing, and supervising the publication of several resource services used by accountants, lawyers, and human resource professionals to advise their clients. During this time, she also earned her Certified Financial Planner® license.
From an early age, Theresa increasingly felt a “tug toward ordination.” Encouraged by her husband who asked “why aren’t you in seminary?”, she began the discernment process and earned a Masters of Divinity degree at the Episcopal Divinity School in Massachusetts. During that discernment process, she served as a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) intern with Carolinas Medical System in Charlotte, NC. She later did a CPE residency with St. Francis Hospital and the Anne Shepherd Home (a residential facility for sexually abused girls) in Columbus, GA, where she encountered PTSD and other stress resulting from Hurricane Katrina. After graduation from seminary, Theresa’s first call was as the Bishops’ Deputy for Western Maryland and serving as vicar for two small parishes. On the elimination of her position, she then served as Interim Pastor for an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) church in Cumberland, MD, until she came to her current position at GHBC.
Obviously, Theresa doesn’t have a great deal of spare time but, when she does have some spare moments, she enjoys walking, writing, talking weekly with a good friend in Massachusetts, and spending time with family and friends (now virtually). Before the pandemic, she enjoyed dancing, traveling, and dining out with her husband or close friends.