Mildred’s Stories

More than 3,500 Christian congregations
shut their doors every year.

But we know God is still transforming the world.

People from across the generations are following
Jesus and living out a bold faith.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
– Joan Didion.

Mildred Vannorsdall (1918-2000) was from Ohio but lived much of her life in Chicago working for the Chicago Public Library, having earned her PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Michigan in 1974. She lived out her bold faith with her local Methodist church family and served in many roles, such as church historian, Lay Leader, and Council Chair. Mildred also enjoyed serving with Methodist women’s groups in her church and at the conference and denominational levels.

As part of Mildred’s legacy plans, she designated the Foundation as trustee of her charitable trust.

With “Mildred’s Stories” we are inspired afresh by Mildred’s words in a letter she wrote in 1988 after retiring and returning home to Ohio:

“I have to say that I feel a wonderful sense of freedom even though I also feel that I’m in what [Swiss physician and author Paul] Tournier describes as ‘the middle of the way,’ the time between one’s departure from one secure place, and I had found that in Chicago, and one’s arrival at a new secure place.”

Mildred’s Storytellers share their own experiences of being in “the middle of the way,” between secure places, and how “being the church” makes meaning of their faith journeys.

Links to videos:

Sophia and Diana

Ave and Lennox

Nura and Sacha

Feel free to share “Mildred’s Stories” in your worship, small groups, town halls, any contextually relevant forum! We share the videos under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. We would love to hear how you creatively shared these stories! Through this storytelling ministry, we invite you to “holy listening” and to “tune into God’s voice.”

As you are moved by Mildred’s Storytellers and their stories, please consider making a donation to support three organizations with missions that resonate with the themes of Mildred’s Storytellers.

    R-Squared is a project of the General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church. R-Squared aims to support and resource diverse faith communities in the work of racial equity, anti-racism, and intersectional justice-making.
    The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. We are the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people.
    The Center for Conflict Resolution’s mission is to work with individuals, communities, courts and other institutions to manage and resolve conflict. Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties involved in a dispute work with an impartial party, the mediator, to generate their own solutions in settling their conflict.