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Church music director: 'Building communities of faith'

graphic
Jill Hollifield  

November 1, 2000
Web posted at: 11:24 a.m. EST (1624 GMT)

Name


Jill Hollifield

Position


Director of music and worship arts, United Methodist Church of Green Trails, Chesterfield, Missouri.

Green Trails is a very active congregation in this western suburb of St. Louis. We have 13 musical ensembles. I conduct four, help out with another two, and act as a support person for the volunteers who lead the others. Scheduling music for services is a big part of my job. I also lead a drama ministry, take care of maintenance for our instruments and multimedia, plan and lead a weeklong choir tour for our high-school students in the spring, work with the youth leader on fund-raising and special projects, help plan special services and lead a small Bible study group.

"Unexpected events like a funeral can throw us into a flurry of activity. And the major holidays, Christmas and Easter, are extremely busy times. Christmas Eve is on a Sunday this year, and that means seven services, the first starting at 8:30 a.m. and the last ending at midnight. It's a good thing we all get along so well."

Years in position


1

Age


34. I'm a Capricorn, but feel much more like an Aquarius.

Education


BA in theater arts, acting emphasis, University of Minnesota, 1988. MM in choral conducting, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, 1998.

How did you get your current job?


I actually found it through an advertisement on the Internet. I'd never been to St. Louis before my interview. I also found my apartment on the Net. It's a wonderful thing.

How many hours do you work per week?


Right now, my workweek stands at about 48 hours. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my only typical 9-to-5 days, although I sometimes have evening meetings. Mondays and Thursdays I have evening rehearsals and meetings, so I come in at around noon and stay until 9 or 9:30 p.m. Sundays are 12-hour days -- 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. -- with an hour for lunch. My official "weekend" happens on Fridays and Saturdays, but I often find myself at work on at least one of those days.

What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?


Check my mail and phone messages, and chat with my co-workers. Then I log on, turn on NPR and get to work.

  MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
United Methodist Church of Green Trails is led by Rev. Mark Williams and associate pastor Rev. Barry Freese. For more information, see the church's Web site, listed below in Related Sites. Jill Hollifield contacted us through our submission form here at "A Day on the Job." If you'd like your day to be considered for a profile here at CNN.com/career, let us hear from you as Hollifield did.
 

What time do you have lunch? What do you usually eat?


Lunch is a major event. We usually start the "lunch poll" at about 11:30, and everyone is eating together by 12:30. We order out a lot and find any excuse to actually go out to eat. Often, there's food left over from an event or youth meeting and we eat that. There is such a thing as as free lunch.

What time do things get tense around the office? What makes it that way?


I wouldn't say things get tense, but they do get very, very busy. Unexpected events like a funeral can throw us into a flurry of activity. And the major holidays, Christmas and Easter, are extremely busy times. Christmas Eve is on a Sunday this year, and that means seven services, the first starting at 8:30 a.m. and the last ending at midnight. It's a good thing we all get along so well.

If you're having a good day at work, what is it that makes it good?


Being with my co-workers -- all of whom are insanely funny people -- and all the volunteers I work with. My job depends entirely on volunteers, and each and every one of them is an interesting, enlightening person. I learn something new every day.

  QUICK VOTE
graphic Let's assume the house of worship in question matched your religious faith -- would you consider a job like Jill Hollifield's on a ministerial staff?

Yes, combining work and faith must be great.
I'm right in the middle of the sanctuary's aisle on this, can't decide.
No, religious work isn't for me.
View Results

How much work, if any, do you take home?


Quite a bit, actually. Since I conduct four ensembles -- one with a new anthem every week and one with four or five new songs a week -- the score study required is monumental.

What does your work contribute to society?


Building communities of faith is important to building healthy communities at large. When people become involved in a ministry, they grow in their personal faith, challenge themselves and grow as people in general, and this spills over into the "real world." I take quite seriously the fact that I help shepherd folks along their faith journeys -- its exciting, revealing, and builds my faith as well.

Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?


Who knows? I went back to school at 30 to prepare for this career, and while it's perfect for me right now, you never know what will come up in the future.

If you could have two more careers, what would they be?


FBI profiler or diplomat in an East European country.

"When people become involved in a ministry, they grow in their personal faith, challenge themselves and grow as people in general, and this spills over into the 'real world.' I take quite seriously the fact that I help shepherd folks along their faith journeys -- its exciting, revealing, and builds my faith as well."

What is an unforgivable trait in a colleague?


Hoarding chocolate. Other than that, I wouldn't classify anything as unforgivable. It can be a minor annoyance when things change at the last minute, or someone has a great idea they want implemented 10 minutes before a service. But those are certainly things you can deal with.

What do you do to relieve stress?


Hang out with my cats, Madeleine and Maynard.

What have you been reading lately?


I've been plowing through "Chronicle of the Russian Tsars" (Thames & Hudson, 1999) by David Warnes. I'm also re-reading "A Southern Family" (reissued in paperback by Avon Books, 1997) by Gail Godwin. And I always have a couple of trashy mysteries going.

When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work?


Two words: student loans.

graphic


 

RELATED SITES:
United Methodist Church of Green Trails


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