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Meet Chrys Hyde, Church & Community Volunteer

Meet Chrys Hyde, Church & Community Volunteer

If you want something done right, just ask a busy person. That old adage proved true when Garrett-Evangelical asked Chrys Hyde to help organize a Small Informational Gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin as a part of its Forging Our Future campaign in 2003. Although she was already deeply involved in church and community activities, she was recommended by her pastor as someone who would do a great job in coordinating such an event. "I'm a good organizer and that's my problem," says Chrys. "I can't say 'no.' I'm hard on myself. If I say I'll do it, then I'll do it 150 percent. I have a hard time relaxing and I like to be busy."

So Chrys said yes to organizing the gathering-and it was a big success. In fact, she so impressed Garrett-Evangelical staff with her leadership and organizational skills that she was invited to join the seminary's board of trustees. Again she said yes, this time because of her deep appreciation for The United Methodist Church and her recognition that preparing outstanding leaders for the church needed to be a high priority.

"I'm a United Methodist through and through," Chrys notes. Her love for The United Methodist Church goes back to when she was a little girl growing up in Kansas City. Her father, a recovering alcoholic, was told by several churches that he could never hold a leadership position in the church, even though he had been sober for years. Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, however, welcomed him and his family with open arms. The progressive attitude
of the church and its doctrine of love and acceptance had a profound effect on Chrys. Her father went on to serve in many leadership positions in the church, and Chrys came to love the inclusiveness of The United Methodist Church. One year her family served as a missionary family to an inner-city church. Here Chrys learned the joy of diversity and her appreciation for the church's acceptance of all people grew even deeper.

Chrys went to Coe College in Iowa, where she majored in psychology and sociology and met her future husband, Doug. They married and moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they raised two children, Andrew and Sarah, and became deeply involved in the life of the community. Like her father, Chrys became a leader in the church, serving as trustee, stewardship chair, membership chair, vacation Bible School chair, pastor-parish relations chair, administrative council chair, revisioning committee chair, and fund for discipleship chair.

Chrys' leadership didn't stop at the church, however. When her children were young she started the citywide Parent Teacher Organization. She worked on capital campaigns for the Girl Scouts and the Paine Art Center. She was a founding member of the Women's Fund, a fundraising organization with a mission to empower the lives of women. "I guess you could call me a proper activist," Chrys says. "I'm interested in creating social change, not just putting a band- aid on a problem. My full-time job was donating 40-50 hours a week to organizations I care deeply about." Doug's full-time job, however, was with Oshkosh B'Gosh, demanding much of his time and energy, especially when he became CEO of the company in 1991. Nonetheless, he too managed to find time to give back to the community, becoming deeply involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh.

In 2007 Doug and Chrys "retired" and moved to Florida. While they now have more time for boating, traveling, and reading, their lifestyle is not one of just leisure. Chrys has already thrown herself into the work of the local United Methodist Church; Doug remains active with the Boys and Girls Club, and they are both involved with their alma mater, Coe College, Doug as a board member and Chrys as a member of the campaign steering committee. And Chrys is again hard at work raising awareness for Garrett-Evangelical and the important role it is playing in preparing bold Christian leaders for the church and the world. In fact, she and Doug hosted another Small Informational Gathering to introduce people in their church in Florida to the seminary.

Why is such a busy layperson willing to give her precious time to serve as a trustee at Garrett- Evangelical? Chrys summarizes it well when she states, "After every board meeting I become overwhelmed as I feel the arms of grace wrap around me. I've received a free gift from God. I've just attended a board meeting where I got to break bread, pray, worship, and analyze important issues with a group of dedicated people moved by God to bring their own unique gifts to the table. I feel that I receive far more from this association than I could ever be able to give back."

But give back she does, in generous measure, her time, her talent, and her treasure. Chrys assumed a leadership role at the seminary by chairing the student affairs committee of the board. She also assumed a leadership role in the seminary's Forging Our Future campaign by establishing the Chrys Grafrath Hyde Endowed Scholarship. This leadership scholarship, which is being funded with outright gifts and a planned gift commitment, will someday provide enough earnings each year to provide a full tuition plus stipend scholarship to an outstanding woman preparing for ministry at the seminary.

What led Chrys to create this scholarship? "My heart is full of appreciation for a congregation and denomination that believed in my father and helped him reach his full potential as a father, husband, community servant, and contributing member of church and society. I am also filled with pride to be affiliated with a denomination and a seminary that opens its doors to women. I believe our church is stronger and richer for this attitude. For these reasons and because of my gratitude to a loving God who has blessed me with resources that I can share, it seems perfectly logical to establish this scholarship."

It also seems perfectly logical for Garrett-Evangelical to give thanks to God for people like Chrys and Doug Hyde, for they are playing a critically important role in helping to ensure that our churches and communities will have strong Christian leaders-now and well into the future.

If you would like to help ensure that our churches and communities have strong Christian leaders, we invite you to join Chrys in supporting the seminary. For further information on how you can participate, visit our website,, or contact David Heetland at 847.866.3970. One-time gifts, pledges over a five-year period, and planned gift commitments are all welcome.