Hilary Irusta

Hilary IrustaHillary Irusta serves as a pastoral resident in GCI’s Greensboro, North Carolina church, which is pastored by her father, Joel Irusta.

Hillary felt God’s presence and involvement in her life at age five. “My family was in a terrible car accident. Hit from behind on the freeway by an eighteen-wheeler, we rolled back over front six times across all lanes of traffic. An EMS team saw the accident and told us afterwards that they were positive everyone inside would be dead. All four of us walked away with minor injuries. I slipped out of my seat belt, and told my father that an angel had held on to me and stood me up once it was over. The experience instilled in me a sense of God’s active, loving involvement in my life and in the lives of those I loved as well as a deeply ingrained sense of purpose for life.”

Hillary grew up in Archdale, North Carolina, “in the backyard of Greensboro and High Point. What brought me here today is a loving and supportive family, a strong will and independent spirit, an open mind and a hospitable heart, a strong ethical center, a willingness to question and struggle, a longing for adventure, friends who challenge and embrace me, communities that nurture me, acquaintances that challenge me, and God’s grace and compassion to vivify, sustain and call me onto the path of transformation.”

Growing up in GCI, Hillary became aware of the GCI Intern Program just as she was graduating from college. “I was preparing for my Master of Divinity studies and discerning ways to follow a calling into ministry. The door was open and the opportunity was surrounded by peace and excitement.” Hillary interned with her father, pastor Joel Irusta. She noted that the success of the program was largely due to “a congregation that believed in me, supported me, nurtured me and affirmed my calling.” After the internship was over, Hillary was ordained an elder. “I was installed as associate pastor at Centered Church, Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 17, 2013 (St. Patrick’s Day) after interning there since January 2011.”

After earning her Master of Divinity degree, Hillary had the opportunity to take some time off. “I had the chance of a lifetime to travel to Kona, Hawaii, this past summer! I snorkeled with sea turtles, hiked a volcano and explored the rich history and culture of the island of Hawaii.”

“Learning to be patient with persons and systems,” was Hillary’s greatest challenge during her internship. What she enjoyed the most was, “inviting everyone to God’s table and retelling the story of Christ’s life, death and resurrection every week during Communion.” This ties in with what she loves most about GCI: “The emphasis on God’s grace.”

Hillary’s passion is knowing her calling. “I’m called into the heart of the Beloved, to live a life pursuing wholeness for myself, neighbors and creation while equipping the church for acts of radical hospitality, justice and compassion in the world.”

Hillary says her most memorable moment was “baptizing my good friend’s newborn baby a couple weeks after my ordination.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone considering GCI’s Intern Program, Hillary said this: “Spend serious time discerning your calling, reflecting on your story and the things that give you life. Listen for God’s guidance and expand your theological, biblical and cultural understanding to discover hidden aspects of your calling and new possibilities for ministry.”

One thought on “Hilary Irusta”

  1. Hilary,

    You are an inspiration to many. It is so encouraging to hear about the next generation of leaders emerging within our fellowship. The future is full of hope thanks to young motivated Christian leaders like you.

    As you walk down the path of ministry, and in the face of challenges, may you ever recall this prayer…

    “Lord, the task is impossible for me but not for Thee. Lead the way and I will follow. Why should I fear? I am on a Royal Mission. I am in the service of the King of Kings”.

    —Mary Slessor

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