Rev. Rachel Kitchens has been part of the Venn teaching team since 2014, and is passionate about spiritual formation and the integration of the heart, spirit, mind and body. She is originally from Atlanta in the state of Georgia, USA, and moved to New Zealand in 2010 after marrying Andrew Shamy, who is also on the Venn team. She has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Dance and Psychology from Hollins University and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. While at Regent she completed her Master’s Thesis on a Theology of the Body, based on Pope John Paul II’s works.
Rachel is also a Spiritual Director, and is a member of the Association of Christian Spiritual Directors New Zealand. She leads retreats and teaches with Spiritual Growth Ministries, a formational training programme for spiritual directors in New Zealand. She is an ordained deacon in Te Mihana Māori, Te Takiwā o Manukau and is an active member of her local church, St. James Anglican Church in Māngere Bridge. She is a classically trained ballet and contemporary modern dancer and currently teaches adult ballet in Auckland. She is most interested in the integrated places where rest, embodiment, prayer, beauty, and hospitality collide, and is deeply passionate about helping Fellows find ways to integrate their lives with the gospel. She is excited about sharing her love of the church with others and equipping the body of Christ to live out their true calling as faithful image bearers and image shapers.
Rachel and Andrew have three children, Ella, Georgia, and James, and they live in Māngere Bridge, Auckland.