Name: Irene Maguire
Hometown: Cork, Ireland
Position: Administrative Manager
Description of work at Harvest USA: As with any non-profit, I get to wear many hats at Harvest!
- Facilities Manager: I oversee office management and liaise with the building owners to ensure our space is a good and safe place to work. I also oversee maintenance and supplies, including supporting staff with good technology, networks, phone systems, and teaching space.
- Website: I take care of the backend of the website, so it works smoothly and all the blogs (including this one!) post as they should—making sure the hyperlinks actually link and anything downloadable does just that—downloads!
- Online Store: A crucial part of our website is our online store, which includes print resources and free digital downloads, and I oversee the fulfillment process. Since its inception, the store has been a major tool in raising Harvest’s profile both here at home and internationally.
- Database: I am the database administrator—that piece of the puzzle that links Harvest to its supporters. You’re reading this piece because you’re in our database! We work hard on the backend to ensure our data is up-to-date and accurate.
- Coffee!!! Last but not least, I make sure we have really, really good coffee beans. Nobody gets any work done around here without good coffee!
How did you get to Harvest USA? I came to America to come out. I was chasing after a girlfriend who was based in the States. One of the last things I said to God before I got on the plane was, “If you do exist, prove it.” Now never, ever give the Lord an opening like that and expect him not to take advantage of it! Shortly after arriving, I had to grapple with the realization that God did exist. Then the issue was, and continues to be, how am I going to live out my life in light of his existence? What does it mean to be a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction but living in holiness before God? As part of that ongoing process, I joined a Harvest group about a year after arriving in the States. It was a safe and challenging place to start my journey—living honestly before the Lord. Like all journeys, it’s been full of ups and downs. I would say it’s become less about sexuality and more about me as an entire person—of which my sexuality is just one part. It’s about realizing God loves me for who I am and in spite of who I am. My work at Harvest has also been part of that journey for twenty-three of those years. I believe the work done here, being signposts to Christ for others who grapple with these issues, is altogether worth it. I believe what we do equips individuals and families for the long haul, helping them deal with the realities of living in a complicated, frenetic world and showing them that Christ is in it with them no matter how fraught it gets.
What is your favorite Scripture? Proverbs 31:25–26:
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (NIV)
This woman is not alarmed by the future or what it can bring, nor is she anxious about the opinions of others. She looks forward in confidence and anticipation of Christ, her shepherd, leading her. She looks forward to a certain, eternal future. These things are easy to write but living them out—now there’s the rub! But, unless I am willing to step out on this road, willing to travel it, I will never get to know how that journey ends.
What is your favorite thing about living in Philadelphia? Philly has a sense of history that I appreciate. It’s a city of small, bustling neighborhoods once you step off the main streets. It’s a city of contradictions, yet not overpowering or as “in your face” as New York. Another thing about living in this part of the US is the four distinct seasons. Someone asked me what I would miss most if I ever left, and that would be watching the dogwoods bloom each spring—always a joy.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself? I traveled a couple of times to Nepal, working as support to medical teams serving the hill villages in the Lamjung region. Lamjung is an area northwest of Katmandu in the shadow of the glorious Himalayas. There’s a saying that to drive in India and Nepal is to have a firm belief in the afterlife. . . I can attest that this is absolutely true! Your concept of travel and distance changes. Getting to a village on the opposite side of the valley, seemingly so close that you could reach across and touch it, takes a day’s hike and sore knees! But I would go back in a heartbeat to be among the hill people again. Their generosity and kindness make the sore knees worth it!