Q&A With Past Chapel President Noel (Kahl) Reagan '05
Meet Noel (Kahl) Reagan '05
Past Chapel President
Q. Where are you now? Please share your location and job title, and provide a description of what your position entails (chief responsibilities, etc.).
A. I am a flight attendant based in New York City. As a flight attendant, my No. 1 priority is safety and with that is the importance of customer service. Since starting my career as a flight attendant three years ago, I’ve been to 27 different transoceanic destinations and worked over 565 flights. I also volunteer as a peer support representative, which is a confidential peer to peer assistance program where I am trained to listen, support and refer as needed for a variety of life issues.
Q. Please share a bit about how Campus Ministry at Augustana influenced your life.
A. Campus ministry was a community where I discovered my deeper purpose, I had an opportunity to be present in worship, share my story and be a leader in the community.
Being present in worship was a place to meet on common ground with my peers and with faculty members. Through opportunities to share my faith story and hear faith stories of my peers gave me time to grow and stretch, this was something that challenged me in a positive way to continue to wonder about Gods work in the world and my place in the picture. Ultimately a chance to be a leader in campus ministry gave me tools to prepare for continued ministry, not just in the church but in the world.
Campus ministry gave me an opportunity to strength my roots in Christian faith. Hearing stories from my peers and being given opportunities to share my story nurtured my faith. Opportunities to be a leader in campus ministry gave me times of challenges and growth. Campus ministry leadership opportunities gave me affirmation of my purpose to live out my call to be a faithful follower of Jesus in this world, to go to love God and love my neighbor and that is what I still strive to do to this day and all the days ahead.
Q. Please also share how your faith was nurtured outside of Chapel — by professors in class, by peer advisors, by friends, through participation in clubs or intramurals, etc.
A. Outside of chapel my faith was nurtured in many ways. One particular way my faith was nurtured was through spring and J-term break service trips to New York City. In particular I learned that living faith in the world is sometimes being present, listening and showing that you care. I was part of a group that volunteered at ground zero six months after 9/11. Throughout the 12-hour volunteer shift, we served food and other specific tasks, but one of the most important things we did was listen to the stories of the folks who were cleaning up ground zero — this is when I really learned about being present truly as a way we can serve and love our neighbors. This experience gave me a glimpse into the world, that it was beyond the Midwest farmlands where I grew up and went to college. I now attend worship at Advent Lutheran Church in New York City, which was a partner congregation in that service learning experience I had 15 years ago.
My peers at Augustana influenced my faith through the support we gave one another. I always felt supported and knew I could count on many friends and acquaintances through tough and challenging times — we did have many challenges throughout the four years and always looked out for one another and this community inspired me to continue to live my life looking out for others and supporting others, which is something I continue to do in my life and in my career as a flight attendant.
Q. How does Faith continue to serve as your compass?
A. Faith continues to serve as my compass in an integral way of my daily life. My faith grounds me and guides me. I know I am called to love God and love others and my call extends into this world and literally all around the world. I work as a flight attendant, which may be seen as a job in the corporate world, but for me this is a call to ministry in the world. My faith gives me purpose in my life and in my career.
My faith continues to give me purpose each days I work as a flight attendant all around this world. I am there to share God’s love and I simply do this by caring for all people that come on board the airplane — looking out for safety and offering hospitality. My faith gives me purpose to my vocation as a flight attendant and each day I continue to live out my call to love God and love others. Beyond the church building my faith grounds me and gives me purpose to live out God’s call for me in this world.
Q. How as your faith helped you navigate through life's changes and challenges?
A. We all have our own challenges and changes throughout life. My faith clings tight to the hope of Jesus and knowing that God’s grace is sufficient and God’s power is made perfect in weakness. We are all broken people but it is faith in God that has kept me going one day at a time. My faith has given me the strength to know that no matter what, each and every day, I have an opportunity to share the light and love of Jesus with others. Before becoming a flight attendant, I received a master of arts in Children, Youth and Family ministry and for 10 years I served in full-time ministry. One big change and challenge was a career change — my faith gave me a sense of purpose. Knowing that I am called to love God and love others, I truly felt called to go into the world and around the world living this call. While it was difficult to leave full-time ministry in the church, even though I didn’t completely understand why I was making this career change at the time, my faith kept me grounded knowing that I was called beyond the doors of the church. For me, being a flight attendant is more than a job, it is a call I’ve answered to share the love of Christ with my neighbors on the airplane and around the world and I do this by extending hospitality to everyone who steps on board the airplane, both passengers and my co-workers.
Q. Who was your most inspiring professor at Augie, and why?
A. It’s so hard for me to pick just one … so I will pick two. I only had Steve Thomas for one class, Art and Children, and I didn’t get to know him extremely well, but I was completely inspired by how passionate he was for art and for creating such teachable moments and opportunities. His energy was always contagious and he inspired to excite others and find teachable moments. His joy for live was contagious and I’ll forever be inspired.
On a personal note, I had a unique double major of religion and special education, eventually knowing I would go into ministry. I loved the classes both majors offered and so I continued coursework. Joan Bacon was a special education teacher, but willing to share her faith and her interest in ministry too, she helped my find a ministry in town that drew together both of my interest — this was out of the normal routine of special education majors, but she made it happen. She reminded me that no matter what you are passionate about, there are opportunities to live that passion, sometimes you have to look beyond.
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. One of the greatest personal satisfactions was completing two Ironman triathlon races. Two years prior to the first race, I did not know how to swim. I set a goal I thought was impossible. Through dedication, support from those around me and commitment to this challenge I was able to finish a race I never imagined I could do — then I did it a second time. Both times I trained for these races while flying all over the world. The feeling of learning how to do something and then reaching a very large challenge — the feeling is indescribable.
Professionally, it was graduating from Luther Seminary with a master’s degree in children, youth and family ministry. I worked on this degree while working full-time in youth ministry over a four-year period. This theological degree was not only an asset while I worked full time in ministry of the Church, but has given me a foundation in which to see the world I now travel many days each month.