Read letters from Mary Ferris
Mary ended mission service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in February 2012. She is available to speak when her schedule permits. Email her to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
Mary Ferris has served since 2001 as a mission co-worker in Tulcea, Romania, in partnership with New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children (NOROC). Mary assists the director and staff of NOROC with three different programs: (1) Big-Hearted Grannies, which employs retired persons to give individual attention to three or four infants or toddlers on a daily basis, (2) Big-Hearted Teachers, which depends on retired teachers and professors to tutor students and (3) Big-Hearted Friends, which focuses on developing life-skills training and transitional employment and housing for older children, who are required to leave the orphanages at age 18.
“I envision mission as a bridge that bears good news both ways,” says Mary. “We have a lot we can learn from the witness and faithfulness of Romanian Christians through years of persecution and ostracism. Their warmhearted hospitality, their courage in the face of adversity, their humor, and the balance Romanians achieve between work and leisure are all areas that make visiting Romania a nurturing experience. The generosity of the Americans and, in this case, of the Presbyterian church at all levels, means that the seemingly insurmountable problems in the orphanages can be tackled together, knowing that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.”
Mary holds a Master of Divinity from McCormick Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. She was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on August 5, 2001, at First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene, Texas. Prior to her ordination, Mary was a member of First Central, which is the church that founded NOROC and provides the primary support for the program. She is a minister member of Palo Duro Presbytery.
Mary worked as campus ministry intern at Agape House at United Campus Ministries on the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that, she held several positions in the field of Christian education, including minister of Christian education at First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, from 1995 to 1999, director of youth ministry at First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene, Texas, from 1986 to 1995, assistant to the director for the Ecumenical Parish Resource Center at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Richmond, Virginia) from 1984 to 1986 and facilitator of Christian education for Laotian Ministries at St. John Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, from 1982 to 1984. From 1974 to 1982, Mary was a counselor/manager of Young’s Ferris International Vocational Testing Services in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, where she focused on vocational and family counseling. From 1975 to 1978 she was an instructor of psychology at Douglas College in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Mary also holds a master’s in Christian education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she attended graduate school in psychology for several years.
Birthday: October 30