The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

From atheist to catechist

How does someone who believes in nothing come to believe in God?

Down in Virginia, the Arlington Herald recently published the remarkable story of how a young woman who had turned her back on God found her way to the Catholic Church — and became a catechist, to boot:

Her parents are both ordained ministers at Disciples of Christ Church in Atlanta and her sister recently entered seminary to become a Protestant minister. So, for Tiffany Lambert, director of religious education at All Saints Parish in Manassas, it “creates a funny situation,” she said with a mischievous grin.

Service to the Church, however, was not always the center of Lambert’s life. As a youth she fell away from her Protestant upbringing, and playing soccer competitive soccer became the core of who she was.


“As I continued playing soccer, it took over my life. Soccer was my sense of security. It was my anchor,” said Lambert, who studied at Clemson University on a soccer scholarship. “By high school, I really didn’t believe in God.”

It was a combination of her “soccer god” and seeing suffering in the world that propelled her to turn away from the faith of her parents.

Growing up in downtown Atlanta, Lambert was exposed to homelessness, and she often spoke with those she encountered on the streets and brought them food. She could not grasp the world’s idea that somehow she was more valuable than the people on the streets.

“It’s not fair that someone’s valued more because of what they can do,” she said. Knowing her struggle with believing in God, her friend gave her a copy of C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.” Although Lambert found the author’s arguments convincing and compelling, she “could not get over my initial atheism. I had this all straight in my head, but couldn’t know in my gut.”


As Divine Providence would have it, Lambert attended a Catholic high school and had the opportunity to ask questions of her campus ministers.

“I kept getting good answers, but it really became more and more painful. The more I sought to know whether God existed, the more this yearning in my heart developed to know Him, yet it went unfulfilled,” Lambert said.

Sitting in her office, where the walls are decorated with religious icons from Rome and Medjugorje, she said, “It was as if God was carving out this cavern in order to fill it once I knew Him.”

Read the rest to find out how she came to know Him — and where the journey led.

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Jeff Miller

posted December 31, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Great story.As someone who spent 40 years in the wilderness as an atheist and who never believed in God even as a child I am certainly glad she found her way into the Church at a much earlier age.

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Deacon Volker

posted December 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm

I LOVE a good “homecoming” story!!My prayers to her, her family, and all those looking down the path to the waters’ edge.

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