The Rev. Dr. Lyda Pierce serves as a United Methodist missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries for Hispanic/Latino Ministry Development in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Lyda supports the development of Hispanic/Latino ministries throughout the conference, while focusing particularly on the lower Yakima Valley. She lives in Yakima, Washington. Lyda began her ministry in the Pacific Northwest, serving churches in eastern Grays Harbor County before moving to Central America in 1984. She spent 20 years as a United Methodist missionary amid revolutionary struggles and oppressive US-government-financed wars against the poor.
Lyda worked in that difficult context to help people at the margins, especially women, find their own theological voice and fight for their own spaces for ministry within the church and changing social landscape around them. Living first in war-torn Nicaragua, then in the indigenous highlands of Guatemala, and finally in Honduras, she witnessed firsthand the effects of grinding poverty. She worked with groups of women to improve their quality of life, whether by building better cooking stoves, educating themselves about HIV and AIDS, or discovering their own new ways of thinking about God.
In the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Lyda helped coordinate pastoral care responses to the trauma experienced throughout the region, and then later served as dean of an ecumenical grassroots seminary in Honduras, equipping church workers for challenging ministries in a country traumatized by gangs and globalization. She also led seminars and workshops throughout Central America, helping pastoral workers define and carry out effective strategies of ministry in rapidly changing social contexts. Lyda returned to the US in 2004. After four years of pastoral work in Oregon she moved to New York City to serve as the mission interpreter in residence for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, helping United Methodists throughout the northeast to better understand and more fully support the varieties of mission service supported by the denomination. She began her current appointment in the Northwest in April 2010.
Lyda received her Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 1980, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2001. She also received a Doctor of Ministry in international feminist theologies from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2003. She is married to the Rev. Paul Jeffrey, also a Global Ministries missionary. They have two young adult children and one granddaughter.