Profile of Ministry: Vanna Fox

Vanna Fox Wild Goose

Where do you work? Describe your program/ work/ ministry/ organization.

I'm the Senior Vice President of Wild Goose Festival. The festival name is derived from the Celtic tradition where the Wild Goose is the symbol for the Holy Spirit.  Our goal is to be a transformational, experiential festival grounded in faith-inspired social justice. We learn and grow together by co-creating art, music, story, theater, and spectacle, and we engage in robust and respectful conversation with thought leaders and artists who share our commitment to spirit, justice, music and art. Because we are rooted in a progressive Christian tradition, we are hospitable to all and welcome people of all faiths to seek the common good together.

What social justice issues does your ministry/organization address? How do you address them?

Our goal is to address every social justice issue. We do this by bringing in leaders, as well as those being served, to discuss and hold interactive panels regarding their area of ministry. Throughout the 4 days, you will find groups of people continuing the conversation at their campsite and becoming a support group for one another. But we go beyond just talking about justice, we explore the issues from the spiritual perspective. Then we create together music and art that is inspiring and captures our vision as we move forward. 

What inspired or led you to do the work you do?

At the age of 12 I committed myself to serve the Southern Baptist Mission Board as a music missionary. When I walked through the campground gates of Hot Springs to Wild Goose 2013, I knew these were my people and serving them would change my life. I began a discernment process that included Wild Goose board members as well as my faith community . At the end of the process my amazing church, Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, NC, voted to ordain and commission me to serve Wild Goose.

Were you engaged with this or other social justice issues while you were in college or before you went to seminary?
 
My mother taught me passion for social justice, although we certainly didn't call it that. We talked about love, peace, equal rights, racism, serving the hungry and homeless, caring for the sick...the list was endless. By the time I reached high school, being active in issues of social justice was second nature

What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to get where you are today?
The biggest obstacle was being a woman at a time when we weren't allowed in the pulpit. But I survived the split of the Southern Baptist Convention and have been lovingly embraced by churches aligned with the CBF and Alliance of Baptist. There's still a widespread belief that all Baptists are Southern Baptist. My solution for overcoming that obstacle is to frequently inform others that "I'm not that kind of Baptist".

Describe why/how you see your work as "ministry" rather than just a "job"?

There's a fine line between describing your work as a ministry or a job. I don't believe your job needs to be religious in nature to be a ministry. For me, the answer lies, not in the job itself, but rather in how you serve in that position. If I'm doing it because I can't imagine not, and it's a soul fulfilling mission, then to me that's a ministry. One of the most important things we do at Wild Goose is providing a safe place for everyone to examine their journey. Whatever I can do to advance that, is my ministry.

What opportunities are available for seminary students through Wild Goose?  
The LEADNow program we offer at Wild Goose is inspiring. We offer full scholarships to seminary students and first call ministers. The energy they bring and the passion they show for social justice brings a deeper level of conversation for all attendees, as well as renewed hope for the future as these students become our leaders.

 To learn more about Wild Goose, visit http://wildgoosefestival.org/