Stepping through the Threshold: Alumna Amy Newell Large Ordained

Reverend Amanda Newell Large smiling in red religious garb.

August 03, 2022
Jacqueline McCormick

The Reverend Amy Newell-Large likens her call to priesthood to that of a door opening to a deeper life. This threshold had been hovering, ever present in her life from a young age, with Newell-Large taking an active and heartened approach to Episcopal Church life, social justice and the unifying thread of deep faith. Hearing the call at first meant pursuing religion via academia, much like her parents, including Ron Large who, like Amy, is a cradle-Episcopalian and the first to be hired as such in the College’s Religious Studies department. This past June Amy was ordained into the Episcopal Church, marking the crest of a lifetime wave of progressive religious commitment and deepening faith.


Group of religious leadership, including Reverend Amanda Newell Large and Bishop.

Reverend Amy Newell Large (bottom center) in front of Bishop Kym Lucas (top center).


Amy’s time at Gonzaga made clear her path of discernment. In real time, Amy could grapple alongside with her peers and faculty on issues of faith, asking difficult questions about God and being courageous in their faith together– not just in the classroom but in the world. Her initial decision to pursue her faith through academia blossomed into exploring the connection between her contemplative spirituality and activism.


Throughout her journey, Amy has remained connected to faculty who impressed upon her the value of discernment, and their influence remains with her today. Her father, Ron Large’s course Vietnam War and Christian Morality pressed Amy to sharpen how her faith calls for her to stand for peace in justice. Pat McCormick’s book, A Banqueter's Guide to the All Night Soup Kitchen in the Kingdom of God, makes regular appearances in her sermons.


Her academic explorations took her from the classroom to hospitality and beer education, offering a novel connection to people and more practically speaking giving her a place to dig in post grad school. “I loved beer education, bringing people together over a pint, learning about the history and process of beer while getting to know strangers and becoming friends. I saw my work in beer as a significant spiritual practice.” Working for a brewery as a tap room manager, and hospitality coordinator and serving as a vestry member at her church, Amy led her church through a difficult time and discovered how deeply her passion for ministry went.


Having created lifelong friendships with fellow students who attended her ordination and with the living memory of her time at GU, Amy is now Curate for Parish Life at Saint John's Episcopal Cathedral in Denver. As one of four clergy she leads services, preaches, and engages in pastoral care, acting as a guide for anyone else near a door opening to a deeper life.