Forward by Victoria Utman
Sara Pippus and her daughter Katie (who you’ll be hearing from in a few weeks) arrived at my house on a blustery Wednesday evening. It was the only free night we all had that week to sit down and have a face-to-face chat for this Q&A article, the first of a series introducing our fantastic staff here at Sister Triangle Magazine. I wanted a way to show you who is working on the magazine in a more intimate setting, but with the busyness of life, it was a struggle to line up our calendars.
Truthfully, I was tired that night and I didn’t want to leave my house, so Sara and Katie graciously showed up at our acreage, flecks of snow in their hair, having braved the treacherous grid roads with a triple chocolate tuxedo cake in hand. We made coffee and sat down, ready to “get to work” and instead visited for hours, as friends do around cake and coffee. Here’s what we discussed, from my dining room table to yours.
Victoria: Do you want just to introduce yourself really quickly a little bit?
Sara: Sure. What do you want to know about me? Because this is the thing, I have trouble introducing myself, not because I don’t know who I am, but because I know how everybody else defines themselves and I don’t often describe myself that way. I usually don’t ask people what they do for a living or where they live or how big their house is or what they drive or anything like that. So, I would say I probably identify first as God’s kid, I have since I was a little kid, and so that blurs the lines in terms of any man-made boundaries and all that other stuff that people put on things because it doesn’t really matter where or what I am.
I’m God’s kid out in the middle of a meadow somewhere, and I’m also His kid sitting in the pew on Sunday morning.
Victoria: How long have you been with Sister Triangle and what is your role with the Magazine?
Sara: So the first time I ever went to Retreat I was a baby which is kind of funny because I’m 45 now. My mom started bringing us when we were really little to the earliest Retreats. I was probably 11 or 12 when I first started having memories of going to Retreat although I know I went some before that. Then, when I was perhaps 18 or 19, I started being sort of a minion for Marilyn, my mom, Mary, and Marge. I did that so I could give some legs to those three and started to plan logistic things for Retreat, like décor and nametags.
For a long time, I did all of that stuff, then about ten years ago Andrea took over as our Retreat Director and I was able to focus on decor for Retreat while assisting her in planning. Making a space welcoming and as warm as the message delivered at Retreat has always been important to me. Now, I’m still doing that but I also work somewhere in the middle between Sister Triangle Retreat and Sister Triangle Magazine. On the Magazine I am an editor and writer, and this year was also a speaker at Retreat.
Victoria: And how are you feeling about Sister Triangle right now?
Sara: I feel really good about it. For the first time in a long time, it feels fresh and it feels like we all have a good understanding of our roles.
Sister Triangle is about loving each other well and I think we all experienced that a little bit at Retreat this year. We had a Retreat planned and in the books, ready to roll, then God said: “I don’t think so”. Which could have been a disaster but it was an opportunity to hold each other up and carry one another through and it was God using that situation for something more than us. I think we are all sort of onboard in that now and I’ve seen it and felt it so then that makes me excited about the future of Sister Triangle.
Victoria: Can you tell us a little about how you came to follow Jesus?
Sara: I was born to a family whose history was either second or third generation Church of Christ Christians and I can honestly say I have always known in my heart, in my deepest heart, that God is who he says he is.
I was baptized when I was 11 and I still remember the day; July 22nd. It was a beautiful little summer and I’d known for a long time what Jesus has done for me. Which is why it wasn’t a stretch for me to be baptized because I understood the commitment of saying “I’m yours forever”. I knew that then and I still know that now.
I definitely came to know God through being outside in nature. That’s still how I know God and how I share my faith with my friends. Being outside is also the way I am always reassured of His presence. For example, as we drove out here tonight, the waves in the ocean of snow just lit up gold and yellow in the sunset contrasted by blue-purple shadows. For me it doesn’t take very much to make me stop and think, isn’t God amazing?
Victoria: If a woman from scripture was to write for the Magazine, who would it be and what would she write about?
[She thinks about it, then says with confidence] Esther. Esther came to mind right away. Maybe Deborah because she was a warrior back then and knowing what we do about that time and culture, I’ve always wondered how. But I find, and maybe it’s me getting older, that I’m drawn more to stories that are about God’s timing and His miracles.
The “for such a time as this” concept from Esther is a beautiful one to me because I think that’s our lives. Especially if we are open and searching for that timing. When I think about how she saved a nation of people by placing herself in a position of trusting God, that’s what I love about that story.
Victoria: So how would you respond to the people who feel the book of Esther should be removed from the Bible because it “doesn’t mention the name of God”?
Sara: I’ve actually thought quite a bit about this because when I first read things like that, I thought “Huh, you don’t get it, do you?”
And really that’s my response. Having a real understanding of who God is, sometimes means that you don’t have to mention him every other sentence. That story is rife with God’s presence. It’s a very plain tale where God isn’t mentioned but really He is and that’s a beautiful thing. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Jews who read that story know God is there so if you’re just using that as a way to discredit Esther, well you can do that with anything but if you’re actually reading it for the purpose it is there and included then you’ll hear God in the story.
Victoria: Alright Sara, final question: what does our mission statement “Encourage One Another in Love” mean to you?
Sara: Our mission of encouraging, or giving each other courage, in love is poignant. It’s not just giving someone a pat on the back and sending them off, it’s deeper and has more weight because of the love.
There is something about that depth of love part that has held us, Sister Triangle, up over the long haul. It’s also the piece of us that we don’t have control over. We don’t know how far reaching that love has extended as we hand out our magazine or visit at Retreat. We don’t know all the tiny seeds that have been sown for encouragement’s sake.
Encouragement, especially in love, never gets old. It crosses all the boundaries; in terms of race, gender, age, and more, you know? That’s how we began as a magazine and when things change with us here at Sister Triangle, that’s how we continue.
More about Sara
Sara Pippus grew up in rural Manitoba with a deep appreciation for nature, community, and family. Sara loves new adventures and exploring new places with a camera or paintbrush in hand. She is a creative who thrives on finding beauty in unusual places. Maybe that’s why she enjoys her work at a small local school where seeing potential is her favourite and sometimes most challenging aspect of her work. Sara is a life-long learner who loves reading and experiencing the world so she can better understand what she is here for. She is a seeker of faith and connection with her Creator and shares that with others in gentle ways. Sara is married to the love of her life Tim and with him has two adult daughters. She continues to love the journey of growing up alongside her little family and seeking God through all these things.