Humans of St. Paul's: Hannah Hutchens
Jay LaNunziata: Hi, Hannah! So delighted to have met you and spent a little bit of time getting to know you. Let’s jump right in. Can you share your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hannah Hutchens: Yeah, so I am Hannah Hutchens, and I actually grew up in Greenville. I lived all around Greenville and surrounding areas, and I said no matter what that I would never go to ECU, but of course I ended up going to ECU and graduated from there with a degree in Psychology with a minor in Alcohol and Drug studies. I grew up going to St. Timothy’s and I loved it. The first time I went to EYC my parents really had to drag me, kicking and screaming, and they promised I only had to go once and that they’d never make me go again, but I ended up loving it and crying whenever I would have to miss an EYC. I made so many friends there. There was so much a part of me that was in church growing up. At ECU I did a bunch of youth events including going to camp. Each and every summer, going to camp was wonderful, something really special happens there.
JL: Very cool. I think your degree in Psychology is probably pretty important. A lot of people don’t see how managing their mental health is a spiritual issue too, and how that can be a kind of Christian formation, especially while we’re all recovering from a long period of trauma. Well, welcome, and I’m so glad you’ve started your work as our new Director of Youth Ministries. Tell us a little bit about the work you’ve done between college and now.
HH: I knew I needed to get out of Greenville. I love my friends and family; there was nothing bad, but I knew I needed to get some experience in other places. So, I joined the Episcopal Service Corps, and I ended up serving in Baltimore. I asked my parents right before I left “If I hate it, can I leave?” and they were like “yes” but it turns out that I loved it! I worked at a transitional homeless shelter, and I really loved the work and ended up staying for three years. It made me realize how difficult social work really is, but it was so rewarding, too.
JL: After the ESC…
HH: Yeah! So, after that, I got a job at the host church, Memorial Episcopal in Baltimore. I loved it! I did that job from 2018 through 2021. In 2021 I started at Camp Trinity as an assistant camp director. I love Camp Trinity. It was like coming home. Between Trinity and St. Tim’s it’s a tossup on who raised me! I went to Camp Trinity once and then just never stopped going. I did youth events, I volunteered with their special needs week, and I think that’s when I really fell in love and saw the heart of Camp Trinity. It’s been fifteen years since my first year as a camper.
JL: It sounds like you’re pretty connected to diocesan life as well, and not just parish ministry. What is some of your experiences with Diocese of East Carolina youth stuff?
HH: Yeah! I started in 2006 going to youth events. I used to be really shy, and I think youth events really helped with that. As a youth, I did a couple leadership roles in New Beginnings and Happening. And then I also started to serve on the East Carolina Youth Council. I love Emily Gowdy-Canady, she really has done so many wonderful things for the diocese, especially in broadening out and keeping inviting churches to things. Now I’m doing camp reunion and fall conference as well. I’m also a catechist for the online diocesan youth confirmation program. When I did confirmation, it was just in my parish community, but I can see how at churches where there’s only one or two kids, it would be strange and awkward to pull off confirmation with such a small group of confirmands, so this is a really cool opportunity to prepare for confirmation with peers from other parishes. It’s been really cool going somewhere else and coming back, seeing how another diocese does youth events. I’m biased, of course, but I think we do a really good job.
JL: So… What’s your favorite food to eat?
HH: Oh, I’m a pizza girl. In any form. I like good pizza, I like bad pizza. I really like Michelangelo’s and Marabella in town. They’re so good.
JL: How do you take your coffee?
HH: I’m an iced coffee girl. I like a little bit of cream and one or two Splendas.
JL: So, like, Starbucks… That’s your order? And iced coffee?
HH: I’ll get a cold brew. And I like the sweet cream cold foam. So good.
JL: So, what is one thing you hope for St. Paul’s as you begin your ministry among us and alongside us?
HH: I think one of my dreams is already coming true! I’ve met a great group of people who are excited for me to be here, as excited as I am to be here. I just hope that our youth, in particular, find that St. Paul’s is a safe place to be. That someone outside their parents or guardians cares about them and loves them. I think that’s an even bigger goal for me than like, growing a huge program, just to be true to what we say we are, so that they feel comfortable here and invite their friends to join us, too.
JL: Well, thank you so much for your time today, I’m already so delighted to work with you, and I’m looking forward to your ministry alongside St. Paul’s!
Hannah HutchensDirector of Youth Ministries
Hannah Hutchens is the Director of Youth Ministries here at St.Paul's. Hannah leads and coordinates our youth activities, primarily EYC on Sunday nights. Hannah is very excited to grow the amazing youth program here at St. Paul’s. She is a proud graduate of ECU, where she received a degree in Psychology with a minor in Alcohol and Drug Studies. Go Pirates! When she is not hanging out here on Sundays she likes to spend time with her two cats curled up on the couch with a good book.
Juniper "Jay" LaNunziataDirector of Christian Formation, Digital Communications
Juniper “Jay” LaNunziata is the Director of Christian Formation at St. Paul’s, which means that they are responsible for the Sunday morning programming for children and youth, including our Christian formation hour (known elsewhere as Sunday school) and Godly Play, a Montessori-based Christian formation program for children that occurs during the first part of the 10:30 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist, with children returning to the main service during the Peace. Jay loves to bake bread, drink boba tea, and go geocaching. (Have you found the geocache they placed on St. Paul’s campus yet?) Jay attended Mid-Atlantic Christian University and received a Bachelor of Arts in both Cross-Cultural Studies and Bible.
Jay is also responsible for our digital communications at St. Paul’s, publishing our Wednesday and Saturday newsletters and managing our website and social media.