Allison Mattocks

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Some have called living an interesting life “the Chinese curse.” Allison Mattocks, the new pastor of Longview United Methodist Church, considers it a blessing.

The Pacific Northwest native has packed salmon roe in an Alaskan cannery and drove a motor coach as a tour guide for Holland America Westours. For seven months, she and her two daughters, Meredith, now 25, and Mikayla, 21, traveled around the United States visiting national parks, historical sites, cities and towns. She has taught drama to primary schoolchildren. Her first full-time career was teaching high school history. Today, she keeps up the pace with an affable 12-year-old Labradoodle named Whitney.

Mattocks says she eventually gravitated to the pulpit and arrived “kicking and screaming” after a spiritual discernment retreat in San Francisco. In her experience, it was not always the “qualified who were called, but the called who became qualified.”

For her, the thought that “I ought to be in seminary” surfaced in 2002. The idea hit her hard. In 2008 she began studying at Fuller Theological Seminary. She first served as a lay minister, then co-pastored in Truckee, Calif.

The people who are following Jesus should be different from those not following Jesus, who she says, combined personal holiness with social action.

She smiles when she considers two Biblical icons of the Old Testament — Adam and Eve, who were tempted by the serpent and kicked out of the Garden of Eden. “They thought they were missing out on something, and they made a bad choice,” she said.

“God loved them anyway.”

Mattocks has confronted poverty and hope in places such as Malawi and Zimbabwe, where she and her former husband served with Winrock International, a development organization focused on hunger and poverty. To this day, her focus is on multicultural and multi-ethnic needs. “I love diverse experiences,” she says, but adds with a sigh. “I love diversity — but it can be exhausting.”

In her world view, actions that expand the mental and emotional borders around God are good for the Christian church. “Jesus came for everybody — urban and rural, rich and poor, all colors and cultures, gay and straight.”

Stepping outside the “nitty-gritty of our comfort zones” is not easy, she knows. “We don’t need to be afraid of differences. There is joy and fulfillment in removing barriers and borders.”

She has learned from people who have lived in trying circumstances, including the Southeast Asian refugee families whom she met in Seattle. “It was a wonderful opportunity to hear such incredible stories of survival in the Cambodian holocaust.”

She received her master’s of divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena while serving as an intern at Altadena UMC in a predominantly African-American congregation. Mattocks was drawn to the Longview UMC, where the congregation is known for its commitment to equality and spirit of reconciliation, where “All means all.”

Mattocks attended Seattle Pacific University for her undergraduate degree and earned a master’s degree in education at Washington State University. She is happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest with its sailing, hiking and skiing. One goal is to ride a horse on the beach.

Most important, she says, is to have “eyes to see and ears to hear, so we can partner with God, to see the will of God done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

  October 2021  
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