Ace Ambassador: Maureen Grinnell

“So we are ambassadors for Christ”

—2 Corinthians 5:20

Ace Ambassadors is a bi-weekly section of the bulletin highlighting a church member successfully and cheerfully spreading Christian values. We invite you to suggest members to profile and, if you would like to do the interview and write-up, we highly encourage that as well. There is a box and sign-up pad on the usher table in the narthex.

Maureen GrinnellHow do you express your Christian values through volunteering?
Because I feel very fortunate to live in this community, I like to do things on a local level—Bernie’s Book Bank and Ragdale are two such examples. Bernie’s Book Bank helps people who live nearby, but lead very different lives than we do. The thought of a child not having a book to call their own really disturbs me, and so that was one of the reasons why I got involved. Similarly, many artists have an income that is nothing like many in this community enjoy, so I got involved with Ragdale. It’s a place where artists can work and be uninterrupted and create. I think that’s important.

Why did you select these two non-profit organizations?
Both of them came to me and asked if I could help them. I was intrigued by their missions, and felt I could make a difference. I give about 20 hours a month of my time in addition to being self-employed as a customer service and sales training professional along with my husband, Dave.

What is the response you receive for these outreach efforts?
Both the Book Bank and Ragdale have grown terrifically in the past several years. I really see myself as a catalyst for making things, including bringing people together. It’s the spark these people send to one another that makes the non-profit a bigger entity.

Why is reading books important in society?
Because if you lack other financial resources, books can help you leapfrog over those gaps. Reading provides knowledge, confidence, and a sense of pride. It really opens up someone’s possibilities. It literally takes a village, and  organizations such as Bernie’s Book Bank and Reading Power aren’t competitive; they all contribute with this literacy effort!

Speaking of books, is there a bible passage that guides you?
I love the psalms. They’re beautiful and inspire me to think about something larger than my daily to do list.

Where did you grow up, and why did you choose Lake Forest and First Pres as your community to live and worship in?
My family (my maiden name is Eddy) moved to Lake Forest when I was in the 7th grade. We joined this church and years later, I got married in it as did my now 30-year-old son, Matt. My husband and I lived and worked in San Francisco before moving back here in 1990.

What is your educational background?
I went to the University Missouri and earned my journalism degree there.

How do you hope your to inspire others to volunteer?
There’s a saying, ‘if you ask a busy person to do something, they’ll usually be able to do it.’ I hope other people like me will look at what I do, and say, ‘Gee, I can get involved,’ and find room in their schedules for volunteering.

Interview and photo by Laurie Giesen, with a photo assist by Charlie Lay.

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