The Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)

The award-winning writing by Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard, MSW has been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post "On Faith," Spirituality & Health, Patheos, Writer's Digest, and Church & Society, along with a number of newspapers, denominational publications, web sites, and poetry anthologies.  She blogs for the Huffington Post Religion section and about faith & life in motion at

Susan has her Master of Social Work and Master of Divinity, is a parish associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church-Normal, and for thirteen years has been editor of with its blog of over 180 global interviews "Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality." She is completing a non-fiction manuscript and teaching "Major World Religions" at Heartland Community College. Author of the children's book Matching Yu, she was interviewed by a PBS program about the adoption and faith journey

Her   Site:

Blog:  Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality




Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard

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Susan Baller-Shepard: Now I Know

Tuesday January 29, 2019
In her sermon for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany, the Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard speaks of Jesus as a distrupter, a paradigm shifte. And to get to know Jesus was to get to know about the great love of God. Jesus makes the circle bigger for so many who had been excluded. But it isn't easy.

Articles by The Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard

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Susan Baller-Shepard: Your Life Matters in the Big Scheme of Things!

Saturday May 27, 2017
Let this be a pep talk to you on a day in which you doubt this fact. Your life is written on a page in the bigger book of life. While you’re living, it’s hard to trust that it matters. It’s hard to trust that your days are connected to a string of days, connected to lives that are connected to other lives in ways you’d never imagine, that you never get to see.

Susan Baller-Shepard: 5 Thank Yous to Say Now

Thursday November 26, 2015
Other than God... Who should you thank today? Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan Baller-Shepard: Thank You, Mother Emmanuel

Friday June 26, 2015
To pull a trigger is easy. Clay pigeons flung out in an arc, hit them one by one, pop, pop, pop, a child at summer camp. To pull a trigger in the United States has too often been child's play. Most recently, by someone barely old enough to buy alcohol.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Good Friday Mettle

Friday April 03, 2015
Being a follower of the way of Christ is a tall order. This Good and Holy Friday is a reminder that when the rubber meets the road, our behavior, what we do, matters.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Adopting? Proceed Reverently

Tuesday March 10, 2015
Having worked in child welfare as a social work intern, I saw how parenting, termination of parental rights, and the process of adoption could go all go terribly wrong. Parental rights were ended, while emotional ties remained strong. More than once I sat with a prisoner as she recorded her final message to her child, as her parental rights were legally severed. This experience opened my eyes to the complexity of adoption.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Welcome Home! Amidst Torture and 'Man's Inhumanity to Man'

Tuesday December 16, 2014
As Christians, celebrating the season of Advent, the glory of humanity, and the horror of the human condition come into view.

Susan Baller-Shepard: From Jesus to Hollywood: Author Jay Parini

Friday October 31, 2014
Perhaps you know his name from his book Jesus: The Human Face of God, or perhaps you know him as author of The Last Station, which was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film? However you might know Jay Parini, Jay's a man of many stories. I asked Jay about his work, here are his answers...

Susan Baller-Shepard: Fresh Grief: Thoughts of Easter

Sunday April 20, 2014
If Easter means anything, it has to speak to our fresh grief. It has to speak something new in the dark. Into despair that tastes like metal, and is that monochrome, in this ravaged ransacked landscape, something or someone must emerge.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Sanctity of Sport: Tuning In

Wednesday February 12, 2014
With all the craziness that is the Olympics in Sochi, I hope the Olympic sports do what they do so well: inspire.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Going Monastic: Thoroughly Modern Woman Experiences an Ancient Rule

Friday November 08, 2013
Judith Valente wears many hats in this life. One hat she wears is that of good friend to countless people. I am proud to have her as my friend, proud to see her work come to fruition, whether that is her work as a journalist, writer or poet. Here is an interview Judith granted me about her book, 'Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith.'

Susan Baller-Shepard: Local & Global: Both/And

Sunday September 08, 2013
Sister Joan Chittister and the other sisters exemplify the adage, "think globally, act locally;" they do both, well.

Susan Baller-Shepard: #mistakesweremade #lessonslearned

Wednesday September 04, 2013
We give up on God and go around digging for something to satisfy us, things that are not meaningful, but will ease our angst momentarily, let us live a lesser life, not life abundant, which God promises us. We choose: life as we want to make it, rather than life as God would make it, trusting in God's provision.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Wild and Precious Lives: Godspeed, Graduates!

Monday May 20, 2013
A meditation on what this season's graduates should know, thanks to Jeremiah and Mary Oliver.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Searching for Goodness in Times of Horror

Wednesday April 24, 2013
I remember July 7, 2005, when an acquaintance of mine, Colin Morley, was killed on the Tube, Edgware Road in London, by a suicide bomber. I remember the horror of it. The bomb had nails packed into it so when it exploded, it would do as much damage and maiming as possible. I thought of that last week with the two bombs going off in Boston, packed with carpenter nails.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Blue Flash of Advent

Sunday December 16, 2012
During the Advent season, we promise to slow down, to sit, reflect, to not make lists upon lists, to let things go, to be present, to shop year round instead of last minute. All of that. And, to not let holiday panic overtake us. That too. In December, stuff jam-packs our days, our hours, our minds.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Prayer for Confluence in the Course of Elections

Tuesday November 06, 2012
The Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard offers a timely prayer as the nation votes.

Susan Baller-Shepard: Felix Baumgartner Infinity and...?

Monday October 15, 2012
I wonder what drove Felix Baumgartner to do a 24 mile skydive. The astronauts of the lunar era were heroic in fascinating ways, and once grounded, and once the missions were grounded, what then, for them?

The Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard: How we live our days

Sunday September 23, 2012
My great Aunt died recently. In the “funeral pending” section of the paper was her name and age, right next to a teenager’s. It hardly seems fair. It is certainly hard to understand, these two listed side by side, and the juxtaposition of the numbers, and the years spent on earth, seemed poignant to me.