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Summer 2005 | Volume 28, Number 2 | Features

Confirmed in Her Calling

SPU Alumna Lives Life in an Anglican Rectory

In 1977, Carolyn “Pixie” Paris, a Seattle Pacific University junior, visited England on an SPU summer study tour. For the next three years, she helped lead the tours, then decided to spend a year in England to see whether her “love for all things British” would persist. It did. In fact, it blossomed.

Pixie Rowe with husband David and two of their four children, Jesse and Esther Grace, outside Wilford Church

So did her faith. Raised Episcopalian, she came to a personal faith in high school, and her years at Seattle Pacific were formative in her growth as a “biblical Christian.” In 1980, working as a hotel barmaid in Dorset, she decided to pursue graduate studies in theology at Trinity College, Bristol.

There her faith evolved into a passion to use her creative gifts for evangelism, and she met a young divinity student named David Rowe. “We fell in love,” Pixie recounts, “but also felt a deep calling to serve together in sharing the gospel and living out the kingdom of God.”

All told, the Rowes have served together in seven Anglican churches in six cities. For the last five and a half years, David has been rector of Wilford Church in Nottingham, which was rebuilt in the late 1300s after being destroyed by a flood. Attendance at Sunday worship is between 150 and 250, while the church’s Holiday Club (similar to Vacation Bible School) draws more than 250 children, and its neighborhood barbecue attracts as many as 1,000 locals.

A mother of four children ages 9–21, Pixie’s daily life is filled with entertaining parishioners and community leaders; arranging details for weddings and other church events; training lay readers (in the Church of England, lay readers are preachers — Pixie was licensed as a lay reader in 1987); and coordinating events in the two local Church of England schools. Outside the rectory, she is active with a campaign called “Make Poverty History” and a key contact for a supporting organization, Traidcraft, which helps poor communities work their way out of poverty by promoting and facilitating fair trade. She has taught part time in a local preschool and runs a catering business known as Grace & Flavour (Nottingham) Ltd.

The former SPU Homecoming queen has now lived half her life in England. A few years ago, the Rowe family considered moving to the United States, “when a job we thought was right came up.” But they decided against it, because, as Pixie explains, “I believe we were confirmed in our calling to serve the Lord here, in this increasingly secular and unchurched country.”

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