By Denee Stevenson

Posted September 28, 2021

There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people. — Corinthians 12:4-6

The Rev. Connie Frierson has many gifts and has been called to serve in many ways by our Lord. She embodies the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Her ministry has been integral to Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople. Installed as Associate Pastor in June 2011, Connie has served Calvin and the Presbytery in meaningful ways. For many who know her, she has been a mentor and model of faith in action. Serving as elder, VBS teacher, small group leader, and member of committees, task forces, and units, Connie immersed herself in the matters and spirit of the Church. She was a caregiver, meaning she visited the ill, ministered to those who needed God’s peace, and always put others first. 

Connie leading worship at Calvin Church.

Prior to her call to ministry, Connie was a Captain in the US Air Force, and an Assistant City Attorney in Columbus, Ohio. But she was always a Presbyterian. Fifteen years after her career as an attorney, Connie received her Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2009.

As part of her faith journey, Connie has a deep connection with nature. When she is outside tending to her beautiful acreage, she feels the presence of God. Her sermons often used an element of nature as a metaphor or connection with the message about our relationship with Christ and our faith. With love and a generous spirit, Connie often hosted people at her farm, sharing her most treasured place with others. During the early weeks of the pandemic, members were invited to worship at the pavilion on her farm, socially distanced, but blessed by God’s presence in the beauty, fellowship, and intimacy of the experience. Every Fall, the Calvin congregation was invited to a bonfire at her farm and in the Spring the children and young-at-heart were invited to pick daffodils that blanketed her grounds.

Connie hosted an annual fall gathering at her home.

A few years ago, living out a dream, Connie and her BFF Peter Donovan, walked the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the three great pilgrimages of Christendom, whereby believers follow the pathway as a way toward spiritual growth. It was a difficult but powerful journey which she shared with others, posting pictures on Instagram.

The Camino de Santiago stretches out before pilgrims.

Peter Donovan and Connie were hiking partners on the Camino de Santiago.

Connie retired from her position of Associate Pastor and then Parish Associate at Calvin Church this past summer. Connie has always walked the walk and talked the talk in the best possible way. She is true to herself and true to her faith. To know Connie is to love her. Her leadership presence and gifts of ministry are truly missed by her church family. May Connie’s gifts continue to flourish in her retirement.