Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)

  1. Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)
  2. Started UPSem 2003: Rev. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (MDiv 2008)
  3. Started UPSem 2004: Rev. Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (MDiv / MACE 2011)
  4. Started UPSem 2005: Rev. Noe Juarez-Loayza (MDiv 2010)
  5. Started UPSem 2006: Rev. Lorenzo Small (MDiv 2013)
  6. Started UPSem 2007: Rev. Ken Fuquay (MACE 2011 / MDiv 2015)
  7. Started UPSem 2008: Rev. Jonathan Davis (MDiv 2014) 
  8. Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
  9. Started UPSem 2010: Rev. Charmaine Smith (MDiv 2017)
  10. Started UPSem 2011: Rev. Vikki Brogdon (MDiv 2016)
  11. Started UPSem 2012: Rev. Dr. Doug Harr (MDiv 2018)
  12. Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)
  13. Started UPSem 2014: Rev. William Joseph “Joey” Haynes III (MDiv 2019)
  14. Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)
  15. Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)
  16. Started UPSem 2017: Rev. Marina Luckhoo (pursuing MDiv)
  17. Started UPSem 2018: Jason Smith
  18. Started UPSem 2019: Ryan Atkinson
  19. Started UPSem 2020: Sedae Slaughter (pursuing MACE)
  20. Started UPSem 2021: Matt Wiedle (pursuing MDiv and MACE)

The following is part of a series of 20 profiles that represent each year that Charlotte has been enrolling students. 

Pastor and Head of Staff
Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

Born and reared in Salem, Virginia, Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006) grew up attending First United Methodist Church, Salem, a congregation she felt took seriously their baptism vows to teach and care for the children and youth of the church. After high school, Raible moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to attend Wake Forest University. Upon graduation, she relocated to Denver, Colorado, working as the brewery representative for The Boston Beer Company promoting the offerings of Samuel Adams — the patriot, not the Union Presbyterian Seminary professor. From Denver, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina, finding her way into another local congregation, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. There, as a young adult, she was “loved back into church,” becoming involved as a youth advisor. In 2002, she married and moved with her husband to Charlotte. Nearly 20 years later, they now share their lives with their son and daughter, and tiny pup.

When exploring her call, Raible concedes that becoming a minister was on her “never” list. Initially, she was unwilling (or unable) to admit a deep yearning to explore a call to ordained ministry. As she says, she “went to seminary to prove a few close family members, friends, and this inner voice wrong. I fully expected the good professors and theologians at UPSem Charlotte to paint God into a box. Instead, the box blew up!”

She chose UPSem Charlotte because her husband’s vocation meant they needed to stay in the Charlotte area. In 2002, hybrid and online degrees were not options and other area seminaries did not fully align with her personal or denominational commitments. When starting her studies in 2002, the seminary in Charlotte was just beginning to offer its first classes, too. At its inception, the Charlotte faculty had four dedicated members. She remembers that they were “steadfast, tenacious, and scrappy. The well was deeper than it was wide, yet they were ‘all in.’”

It is that sense of being “all in” that attracted Raible to the Charlotte campus and continues to keep her engaged with the seminary all these years later. UPSem Charlotte was and is deeply connected to the congregations who helped support and birth the Charlotte campus in its earliest years. While UPSem Charlotte maintains an academic integrity inherited from the Richmond campus, learners constantly have one foot in the local church and the other in the classroom. That dynamic is organically practical and relational, equipping leaders and pastors, as she says, to be the “church in the world” from the inside out.

Reflecting on what she wants others to know about the seminary’s campus in Charlotte, Raible replied, “If these folks are not already theologically trained but hear a whisper of curiosity, then they should know that UPSem Charlotte is an authentic, invested group of professors and professionals supported by a network of friends and congregations, and all are deeply committed to being Christ’s church in the world, together.”