HOMEBioFilm rights, Screenplays, Representation2021 Commentaries2020 CommentariesOLYMPIC AFFAIR: HITLER'S SIREN AND AMERICA'S HEROTHE WITCH'S SEASONThird Down and a War to GoHORNS, HOGS, AND NIXON COMING'77: DENVER, THE BRONCOS, AND A COMING OF AGEMarch 1939: Before the MadnessPLAYING PIANO IN A BROTHELSave By RoyThey Call Me "Mr. De": The Story of Columbine's Heart, Resilience and RecoveryA Selection of Terry Frei's writing about World War II heroesOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 1, Leni's VisitOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 15, Aren't You Thomas Wolfe?The Witch's Season: Screenplay opening pagesThe Witch's Season Excerpt:Air Force Game, Bitter Protest, a Single ShotThird Down and a War to Go: Screenplay opening pagesThird Down and a War to Go Excerpt: Ohio State vs. WisconsinThird Down and a War to Go genesis: Grateful for the Guard, Jerry FreiThird Down and a War to Go: A Marines' game on GuadalcanalDave Schreiner, Badger and MarineBob Baumann, Badger and MarineLt. Col. John Mosley, Aggie and Tuskegee AirmanHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming: Prologue and screenplay opening pagesHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Excerpt: James Street: Wishbone WizardHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Subplot: The day they stopped playing Dixie'77 Excerpt: AFC Title GameMarch 1939 Excerpt: First NCAA Title GameMarch 1939, Excerpt: The StartersPlaying Piano Excerpt: S.F. EarthquakeA Year with Nick Saban before he was Nick SabanTommy Lasorda and the Summer of '70Press CredentialsThe Sporting NewsDenver PostESPN.comThe OregonianGreeley TribuneKids' sports books: The ClassicsJon Hassler, Terry Kay and other favorite novelistsBig Bill Ficke's Big HeartBob Bell's Food For Thought


From Pentagon web developer to pulpit: Tracey Perry’s unlikely path

March 23, 2019 


Terry Frei 


On Ash Wednesday recently, Rev. Tracey Perry, left, delivers ashes to go to Jasmine Craveiro in the parking lot at Faith United Church of Christ in Windsor. (Louis Amestoy photo)


Tracey Perry was 34 when she had what she characterizes as “a vision between wake and sleep state.”

Years later, she still remembers it vividly.

“I was on a large stage and preaching to a sea of people,” Perry said Friday. “I couldn’t count them all. I knew from that, there was a call. I said, ‘God, if this is what you want, you’ll open these doors.'”

It took a while, but they opened. And they are ajar.

Perry, now 53, was a successful website developer in the Baltimore area, doing much work as a contractor for the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security and at the Pentagon, before she became a minister nearly five years ago. 

On Sunday, she will be officially installed as the senior minister at Faith United Church of Christ, 1020 Walnut St., in Windsor. It’s a formal step in the sense that she has been on the job since December 30.

The installation service will be at 3 p.m., and it will be followed by a dinner reception.

Rev. Tracey Perry

“Sunday signifies arrival for me,” Perry said. “That I have arrived into what God has called me to, to serve this church. It’s completion. I’ve learned that I’m serving a very compassionate church, that I’m serving a very family-oriented church. So many of the people are related. . . It’s a very blessed time. It’s wonderful. God called me here. The church is doing phenomenally well with membership. God’s moving.”

It’s the next chapter in an unlikely story.

Ten years after that vision, she said, she founded a women’s Bible study website involving instruction and frank discussion.

“We talked about everything, from marriage, to our faith, to difficulty in the workplace,” she said. “Nothing was off the table. Some were solid in their foundation of faith, some were struggling.”

She began studying for the ministry, eventually receiving a Master of Divinity degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary. She also has a master’s from the University of Baltimore, plus a bachelor’s from what now is Notre Dame University of Maryland.

Perry came to Faith United Church of Christ from Largo Community Church in Mitchellville, Md. She has seven grown children, and has been married to her husband, William, for 20 years.

In Windsor, she already has been innovative, including when she offered drive-through ashes in the parking lot on Ash Wednesday.

“She’s a very intelligent, passionate, God-loving woman and she has a lot of things she can teach us,” said Jeff Housden of Windsor, who served on the search committee. “I love her so far. She’s revitalized a lot of things that had fallen by the wayside over the years. She’s restarted a lot of groups and started a lot of groups we’ve never had before.”

Betty Wiederspon has been a Faith United Church of Christ member for 62 years, and she and Taylor Stephens also served on the search committee involved in Perry’s hiring.

“She fit in really well with what we were looking for,” Wiederspon said. “We had a long process before we even looked at any candidates to see what our church needed. . . We needed a lot of things. We needed fresh blood, maybe. Obviously, we needed her because everything’s going so well since she’s been here. Our attendance is way up. Everybody seems happy. It’s a joyful thing to come to worship.

“Very often, when you’re listening to a sermon, much later you try to remember what it was all about and you really have to search your mind to try to remember what that sermon was. Now, the difference is, we — the search committee and the congregation — have heard a lot of sermons from her now. And you know what? I could almost tell you about every single one and how it touched me.”

Housden said Perry’s sermons “sometimes have a surface message with deeper stuff to them that you can think about. I really appreciate that she speaks about the practicality of being a Christian and how you’re supposed to govern yourself in your life.”

Stephens, who is retired, also is a church trustee.

“She had sent us some audio tapes of two sermons,” Stephens said. “I think the whole committee, after hearing the two tapes, said, ‘We’ve got to get her out here.'”

Then when Perry traveled to the area for an interview, the committee watched and listened to a sermon in person. She was a guest preacher at another area church.

“I didn’t pay attention to the sermon,” Stephens admitted. “I watched the crowd. You could tell. They really, really liked her.”

He noticed the attendees were hanging on every word.

And soon, she was hired.

Perry’s habit is to offer virtually anyone she meets the choice between a hug or a handshake.

Said Housden, “Oh, I take the hug. Every time.”