Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist


Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church is delighted to announce that we have called the Reverend Gusti Linnea Newquist to be our new pastor. The congregation voted to approve her terms of call at our September 15 congregational meeting in a unanimous vote. The Rev. Newquist brings with her a wealth of education and experience that make her uniquely suited to lead SPC into our future. Highlights include:

• MDiv, HarvardDivinity School
• BA, Marshall University
• Assistant Campus Minister, Presbyterian Campus Ministry, Marshall University
• Weeks 1+2 of Interim Pastor Training
• Master Level Reiki Training
• 9 Years of pastoral experience serving congregations
• 8 years with the National Network of Presbyterian College Women, General Assembly Staff, PCUSA
• Immigration Network Co-founder and Co-convener, Albany Presbytery
• More Light Presbyterians, Regional Coordinator

A Biography in Her Own Words
Rev. Gusti Linnea Newquist

I spent my early childhood in Fredericksburg, VA and spent many summers, week-ends, and holidays in the Shenandoah Valley. My family joined the First United Methodist Church of Fredericksburg when I was five years old, and by the age of ten I was debating issues of faith with my Sunday School teachers. (I’m only partly proud of this!)

My family moved to north Alabama when I was eleven, which changed my worldview forever. I became “an outsider,” and struggled mightily to “fit in.” I also came face-to-face with racism and segregation even in a supposedly “integrated” school system. We continued to be active in the United Methodist Church until my sophomore year of high school, when my father had a falling out with the power structure of the church. I, myself, was discovering other religions at that time and was content to step back from a formal church experience.

I intended to remain what is now termed “spiritual but not religious” until pure peer pressure led me to the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. First, I was drawn into the social ministries of the group: visiting nursing homes and providing activities for teenagers who had been removed from their schools by the court system. Then, I was drawn into the possibility of “a thinking faith” that invited more and more questions in exchange for “pat answers.” Finally, I was drawn into deep love and caring offered by the campus minister to students across a very dramatic theological spectrum, love and caring that I ultimately understand came directly from an experience of the living God.

I leapt at the opportunity to serve at the Presbyterian headquarters in Louisville with the National Network of Presbyterian College Women and ended up staying for nearly eight years. When the opportunity arose to climb the corporate church ladder, God called me instead to matriculate full-time at Harvard Divinity School. At the time, post-9/11, I knew God was calling me to interfaith peacemaking (Harvard is an interfaith community), and I suspected God might be calling me to campus ministry or academia.

Little did I know a small, thriving community adjacent to Tufts University in Somerville would lead me to discern a call to the parish! Wow! The preaching, the teaching, the caring, the healing, the opportunities for communal action drew me in and have never let me go. I finally accepted what I never imagined possible in my Bible belt upbringing: God was calling ME to be a pastor!

Upon graduating from HDS, I have served three More Light congregations across the country and have discovered I have additional gifts for strategic visioning, spiritual formation, adaptive change, teaching Bible, bridge-building, and deep listening. My recent training as a Spiritual Director and Reiki Master have deepened my commitment to contemplative connection as the foundation for all social action.

As a poet, preacher, teacher, and healer, I was thrilled to learn of the ministry of Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church. Although I was “not actively seeking” to leave my ministry in upstate New York, I just couldn’t shake the sense that God might be trying to bring us together. In many ways, Shepherdstown already feels like “home.”

Ethel Hornbeck

Director of Spiritual Formation and Campus Ministry

Ethel is a spiritual director with an ongoing interest in how the Spirit is experienced - and practiced - in everyday life. This underlies all of her work at SPC, including the adult education and formation programs, small groups, liturgy planning, campus ministry, and spiritual direction. She has been on staff at SPC since 2004.

Ethel holds a Masters of Theological Studies in Spirituality Studies from the Washington Theological Union, where she pursued an abiding interest in saints, sinners, mystics and mysticism. She is a graduate of the Shalem Institute’s Spiritual Guidance Program, where she also served on staff for several years. She is also a recovering economist, and a graduate of the American University with an MA in International Economics. Proud parent of Alison and Sara, she lives on the beautiful Potomac River with her husband Jeff and assorted critters.

Kathy Reid

Office Manager

Kathy has been with SPC since August 2004. She grew up in Northern Virginia, but after meeting her husband at college in Richmond, moved to his hometown in Bergen County, NJ, where they raised three children. Upon his retirement, they moved back to this area. Kathy has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children for over 10 years, and a volunteer at Jefferson County Community Ministries (JCCM). She has 8 grandchildren spread out on both coasts whom she doesnt get to see often enough. She resides in Shepherdstown with her husband, Chip, their dog Charlie, 4 rescue cats and 4 very spoiled chickens.

Georgiann Toole

Choir Director

Georgiann Hinchcliffe Toole is a West Virginia native who lives in Shepherdstown, where she has directed the SPC choir since 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Shepherd College (Shepherdstown, WV), a Master of Music in Conducting from the Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA), and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has taught choral and general music in public and private schools, and music education courses at Shepherd, Shenandoah, and UNCG. Dr. Toole is Shepherd University professor emerita, and currently teaches professional development courses for educators.

A strong proponent of the value of musical performance activities for people of all ages and ability levels, Dr. Toole has served as singer or conductor for many church and community music programs, and as clinician, adjudicator, conductor, and composer for county and regional honors choruses in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Her compositions are widely performed, and are published by St. James Music Press.


Morgan Sell

Youth Director

Morgan Sell is a community organizer, activist, artist, and mother, living and raising her children in Jefferson County WV. Born in Shepherdstown, Morgan attended Shepherd University in 2008-2013 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education (k-12). She has attended the Shepherdstown Presbyterian church most of her adult life and has worked as a youth leader for the past four years, travelling to DC and Baltimore on youth mission trips, as well as leading community service efforts right here in Jefferson Co. WV. As a youth leader, Morgan hopes to support, encourage, and celebrate the youth of the church as they grow and evolve into young adults. "Great is the mystery of our faith."