Please extend a warm welcome to Christine Lee Buchholz, our new Vice President of The Gathering. She is responsible for leading our programs -- helping us bring new ideas to life and elevating our current offerings to greater effectiveness. I'm thrilled to be working with Christine in designing, executing, and improving all of the ways The Gathering delivers on our mission to serve families who are pursuing wisdom in the stewardship of God's resources.
Christine is a dynamo. For the past 15 years, she has been working to end human trafficking. She served as a Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, helping to shape policy priorities during an inflection point (20th anniversary of the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act). And she has served on the founding boards of Restavek Freedom and the Human Trafficking Institute. She also has extensive experience working as a consultant to a variety of organizations – federal and state governments, as well as faith-based nonprofits – and leading community-based programs.
She studied economics at Wellesley College and has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Christine and her husband Ryan met through a Congressional Hunger Center fellowship, and they delight in spending time with their two teens in Falls Church, Virginia.
What drew you to The Gathering?
Christine: I first became familiar with The Gathering through Joan and Ray Conn, whom our family met through church in Cincinnati, Ohio. We joined them for the conference in 2009. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Gathering participants on trips to Haiti and following along Fred Smith’s thoughtful writings. Many friends have been speakers at The Gathering. When Joan mentioned that there might be a role at The Gathering for which I might be a good fit, I listened. The Lord has revealed so much of His heart for me through her! During the interview process, I felt drawn to the ethos of the group which I sensed is one that sincerely desires to learn and grow to steward the Lord’s resources well and to be in authentic, trusting relationships with one another.
What do you think you can bring to The Gathering?
Christine: I am grateful for the opportunity to be formed by The Gathering, alongside each of you. I hope that my previous experiences with strategic planning, program design, and project management, as well as my passion for caring for the least of these can be helpful. And, I hope to be a thought partner to Josh and a good teammate to all our colleagues at The Gathering.
Were there any silver linings from the pandemic for you and your family?
Christine: When the pandemic hit, our family seemed to be racing through life with especially busy schedules for our kids. The early days were very intense, with my husband working in health care, but when all our kids’ activities shut down, we treasured the gift of time to engage more deeply as a family. And, we got a puppy in the midst of it! For years, our children had been begging for one and I was the reluctant parent. We promised them a dog for Christmas in 2019, and now I can’t imagine life without our Shih Tzu Coco! The Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson wrote a sweet piece about dogs as the “incarnation of innocent joy” that resonates with me.
When you come to the annual conference, be sure to introduce yourself to Christine and her family. If you're passing through Washington, D.C., reach out to Christine for a cup of coffee. And if you have a pet, be prepared to trade cute animal photos. -- Josh