Finding faith, then finding each other

| April 9, 2014 | 1 Comment

Couple meets in North Dakota, prepares for wedding and entry into the Catholic Church

Krystal Schultz and Jeffrey Stamp are planning a June wedding in Ireland, but first they’ll join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass April 19 at St. Bartholomew in Wayzata. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Krystal Schultz and Jeffrey Stamp are planning a June wedding in Ireland, but first they’ll join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass April 19 at St. Bartholomew in Wayzata. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Jeffrey Stamp was looking for a friendly face in an auditorium so he could focus on it while delivering a presentation.

What he got was a woman he will marry in June and a journey into the Catholic Church.

Stamp, a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, was in Grand Forks, N.D., five years ago and had met a woman there, Krystal Schultz, who was planning to attend the speech. They had some friends in common, and those friends persuaded her to come and listen to him.

“I was speaking at a big conference in Grand Forks,” he said. “And K — I call her K all the time; I never call her Krystal — was working in a real estate management office. She was in the audience at this speech. And, when you’re a speaker, you go into the room and you always are looking for that friendly face that you can talk to that’s sort of on your side. Well, she was sitting in the fourth row right at that two o’clock position.”

Problem was, Schultz didn’t give him the affirming smile he was looking for. Instead, she offered a challenging stare that caused him to seek her out afterward.

That led to a long conversation that turned into a dating relationship. It will become permanent on June 16 when the two get married in Ireland, a natural place given their shared Irish heritage.

On a faith journey

Along the way, both talked about their Lutheran upbringing and the need to settle on a church to practice their faith. Surprisingly, they did not choose the Lutheran church of their childhoods. Thanks to a serious search, and the help of Father Michael Van Sloun, pastor of St. Bartholomew in Wayzata, they will join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass April 19.

The first stepping stone to the Catholic faith came when Schultz decided to move back to the Twin Cities where she was raised. Her aunt, Londa Bilski, a member of St. Bartholomew, let her know of a job opening at the parish. Schultz applied and started working there in May 2010.

By that time, she had started dating Stamp, who was living in Cincinnati and decided he would move to the Twin Cities as well.

She worked for a year and a half at the parish before getting an opportunity to move upstairs to a position in the school as the administrative assistant for principal Lynn Volkenant.

“The first year and a half downstairs, I really learned a lot about the Catholic Church in general,” Schultz said. “There were a lot of things I just didn’t know, I didn’t understand. I grew up Lutheran and I didn’t know a lot of things about prayer. Prayer was one of the things that really started me thinking about joining the Church.”

A co-worker took the time to explain to her the many prayer forms used in the Church, and she felt like her view of prayer was expanded.

“Prayer can be used in so many different ways,” she said. “To me, at that point, praying was at the dinner table, before you go to bed at night — fold your hands and close your eyes, and that’s praying. The idea that prayer could be used in so many different ways made sense. I think that was the first time I really felt a connection to the Church, and thought, ‘I really think I want to be part of this.’”

While she was learning about the Church through her job, she was taking those lessons back to Jeffrey, and they had many conversations about what she was discovering. Eventually, that led to a time of making a decision.

“When I got back to the Twin Cities, we started having this conversation: Where are we going to go to church?” Stamp said. “And so, we looked around. We knew we had to figure this out.”

In July, Father Van Sloun became the pastor of St. Bartholomew. Not long after he arrived, he began having conversations with the couple about the faith and possibly starting the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. His words were very convincing, and the two began RCIA in October.

“When I met Father Mike, I was done [looking for a church to join],” Stamp said. “Father Mike is just a blessing. . . . He’s here for us and he’s been a great guide.”

Heart of the matter

The two realize that these are difficult times for the Church, with all of the media scrutiny concerning clergy sexual abuse. Yet, they are undeterred in their commitment to become part of the Church and the St. Bartholomew parish community.

“We reflected on this after the Basilica event [Rite of Election on March 9],” Stamp said. “We thought, ‘There will probably be protesters there.’ We thought that was going to happen. We prepared ourselves for that, and then there weren’t any. And, you know what? That speaks to the fact that it’s not Catholicism that’s the problem.

“This will be OK. . . . Catholicism is an institution that has [with]stood 2,000 years of scrutiny, and it’s going to be scrutinized again.”

Said Schultz: “Yes, it’s an interesting time to be joining the Church. Yeah, there are some things that need to be different. That’s the way it is. That doesn’t change the Mass for me. That doesn’t change the Eucharist for me. . . . And, that’s what I think is important.”


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Category: Featured, Holy Week/Easter