Vicki Webb, a strategist, mentor, pastor, and spiritual director, from Jersey City, sat down with HerCampus to talk about her roles in her community of Jersey City, her writing, and activism.
Webb is the author of two books, with one on the way, and the true light in the rough and unforgiving town of Jersey City. Her past two books, My Journey to Worth: 40 Day Devotional and Getting to Better: A Quick Start to Improved Life spoke about her struggles with life, and how love, faith, hope, and excitement are the keys to living a more zen and fulfilled life in this world of turmoil.
During the interview, I asked about Webb’s work, her calling to faith, and how crucial it is to not only to use your voice for your beliefs, whether faithful or political, and how what you chose to do in life will always leave an impact on yourself, the field, or someone else.
Webb started her journey of work-life with the idea of helping others in any way that she could. With a cohesive interest in psychology, she decided to become a mentor for those whole were and are struggling with life-threatening illnesses, whether cancer or depression. She stated how her personal life has the biggest connection to what she does for a living as a mentor and pastor. Seeing her children tackle life-threatening illnesses and surgeries throughout their young life, made her calling of helping others more prevalent within her lifetime. With all of what she experienced in life, she is always asked “How can you still see life in such a positive light?”, as she always has helped those around her and in her community as much as she can.
After working as a mentor, she began to hear her true calling, and that was to become a pastor and teach her community the works of God and his teachings, even though that was not the initial job she saw in her future, as her passion of psychology was always at the forefront. With being religious all of her life, and attending an all-girls Catholic high school, religion and faith have always played a large role in her life. “Pastorship is a gift and it is a calling”, she stated, “I felt God’s calling on my life, God spoke to me and showed me myself speaking at a pulpit at which I laughed in shock.” She began to speak about how much she loves being a pastor, she connects it to why and how she is still a mentor to this day. Growing up, like many of us, we are all talkers and lovers, and helping people with problems tends to come out and stay for those of us who are empaths.
Since Webb works in a predominantly male work field, we asked if she has had any issues with being a female pastor. “I have had mostly good experiences”, she said, “because when you are dealing with God, everyone tries to behave as if we are all equal.” She begins to break down the stigma of how people of faith assume the pastor will always be a man or the husband of the women talking, but it is the opposite in Webb’s case, as well as, the cases of other female pastors. “People do get used to it being a certain way, which is usually the pastor of your church is a man, so they are used to, in regular conversation, they may even assume when they attend church, the husband is the pastor”, she said, “‘I am saying I am the pastor’ and in response, I get ‘but who is the pastor? Who is the main pastor?’ ‘I am, there is only one, it is just me’.” She states how when they are questions, there are times when men are automatically sought out to find the answer, but that is a local issue for her. “On a national level, I think that people should get more used to women being pastors”, she said, “because women still have to speak up to make sure that the things that we need are taken care of, like maternity leave, and things that are just for women, just like any other job, to make sure we are protected and receive equal pay.”
Following talking about Webb’s connection and love for God, we decided to change gears and speak about the political climate of today as Webb is a true activist for women’s rights, the black community, and her community of Jersey City. She began by speaking about how she thinks about life. “There is no separation, for me, from what people see as regular life and spiritual life”, she stated, “life is one big thing; to me, as I see life, politics is just another part of life, and I think that if everyone saw that as another part of life, we would not struggle as much as we do politically.” This statement stuck out from the interview, as I have the same view on life, especially with all of the hatred that has filled America for the last four years. She continues by saying, “If we look for and behaved in a way of love, we would not have so many problems politically because when we look at issues like racism, inequality of women, and poverty and stricken areas, and what we are doing about that, as well as, unemployment, and all of the different things that play there, when we look at those different things, I think that they can be solved quicker than they have when we come from a place of love. We need someone on a political front that cares about people, more than they care about themselves, their image, money, and power. When we finally find someone like that, I think that we will be so much better.” The issues the United States has politically now shows that the issue that Webb mentions is bigger than one, singular, independent person, it is the system, since the problems do not vanish or get solved, they continue on and into the next administrations to come. “We are not looking for a particular person, we are looking for a particular behavior”, she said.
We end the interview by talking about tips Webb has used to help herself live a more fulfilled life. She begins by stating how God is important, as well as, to always staying connected, whether through prayer or any personal way you have, to “always have something to fall back on.” Also, she said “understand that today is fleeting”, which is important to understanding your reality of life. “Your problems, they will not last forever,” she said, “at the moment, deal with what is happening right now, beware of what is truly happening, and do not make it bigger than what it is”, due to the pressure we always put on ourselves at the moment. The last tip she had was to vent to someone, and talk to someone since talking about what is happening is always helpful, because leaving it all to yourself, and doing the “bottling it up” like many of us do in the modern age, is not helpful because our mental health starts to deteriorate our physical health.