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  • Writer's pictureSt. Philip

Member Profile: Win Kurlfink

Two years ago, Win Kurlfink — along with his wife Abby and sons Emmet and Brady — joined St. Philip, and while he is a relatively new member of the congregation, he's wholeheartedly embraced the church's inclusive and welcoming nature.

Win serves on church council, but church is a family affair for the Kurlfinks, and Abby is in the midst of taking over the responsibilities of our Sunday school and vacation Bible school programs.

Read on to learn more about Win and his family.

What initially drew you to St. Philip?

Win: Grew up secular — unchurched. Hit up against a variety of personal challenges culminating throughout the early- to mid-aughts. Dear friends in Pittsburgh had recently joined the ELCA Faith Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh and I began to go with them. When they announced their daughter's springtime baptism plan, I decided I'd be next. On July 17, 2011 I was baptized and officially joined. So cool, but so weird. Or as Rob Bell might say, "So Good!"

I met Abby around this time. She and I married there in April of '12. Emmet was born and baptized the following year and Brady the next. We moved to Rockwood in '15 and joined St. Thomas. Pastor Sean [Ewbank] was called to the synod the next year and we found St. Philip. What drew us to St. Philip? The easy and utter warmth of the congregation, the unbearable charm and youthful exuberance, of the paradoxically precocious Pastor Branden.

Finally, we're here because we deliberately extend our welcome to everyone, particularly those who feel excluded elsewhere. We are the church. We change the world with the love of God ... and "Love Wins!"

Tell us about your spouse:

Win: [She is] the most beautiful woman/soul who draws from the deepest well of soul, who balances the best of professionalism and the call of motherhood like I never would have thought possible. And she never ever rubs my nose in how gracefully poised she is as she manages all of it — all while I stumble around looking for my car keys that the boys apparently hid in one of my boots.

How do you volunteer or serve at church?:

Win: Relatively ineffectively — but I seem to draw relatively little frustration from others with this. I serve on council.

Also, we've got some community work in the fire. The Perennial Waters Project — details forthcoming — 21st century church stuff and community/environmental service stuff. I'm optimistic.

How do you volunteer or serve the community?:

Win: We're just trying to keep Emmet and Brady from tearing up the neighborhood — that's a day's work.

What is your occupation and where do you work?:

Win: I am a therapist of sorts — addiction treatment — I am the primary group psychotherapist at Hegira's Oakdale Recovery Center.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?:

Win: Is being Dad a hobby? Eli is 26 living in L.A. Mia is 23 and living in Pittsburgh. I'm a little embarrassed by how gushy proud I am of them. They are both remarkably talented and I wish I could see more of them. Emmet and Brady are such divine little Tasmanian devils that I struggle to catch my breath. When I do catch my breath, when I can breathe, I like to play with art-ish stuff. l like to make big pictures unrecognizable abstracted from poems, phrases, concepts, and quippy remarks.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

Win: Matthew 10:29-31: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Because I think it's gonna be OK.

Win, Abby, Emmet, and Brady

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