By Ingrid Wang.
“Deep, Powerful, and Magnificent!” Don’t these words move your heart and make you want to find out more about whatever they are referring to? As a pastor, I often seek to have a deep relationship with my parishioners, yet this goal seems to be very difficult to achieve. Oftentimes, people are reluctant to open their hearts to deal with deeper issues. It may be fear of being vulnerable, or it may be a trust issue.
By Jasmine Rose Smothers.
After many years of struggling with my call to ordained ministry, I finally responded to the call of God in my life when I was a senior in college. Even though I had served during most of my teen years as a leader in my church, schools, and annual conference, I felt woefully out of place when it was time for me to take active leadership roles as a church staff person and in conference roles as an adult. There were many days that I begged God to release me from this call. I had a myriad of excuses: I’m young, I’m female, I’m black, I’m introverted, I’m not ready! I, like Jeremiah, kept reminding God: “but I’m just a [girl]!”
By Valentina Stavrova.
In January 2013 I arrived at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., to do additional theological study to enhance my future ministry. I had served for six years in ministry in churches in the Russian Federation as part of the Eurasian Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church and was a graduate of the Moscow Theological Seminary of the United Methodist Church. I
By Emile Yong Kim.
Please view this thoughtful film on “The Life and Mission of a Dandelion”
By Lydia E. Muñoz.
I’ll never forget that day. It was a Sunday like any Sunday, but not. I had prepared the Communion elements for worship that morning in our small, new church start fellowship. It is my commitment to develop this new faith community rooted and grounded in the practice of weekly Eucharist, but this Sunday I decided to take my time with each of the rubrics and explain them to these mostly new people in the faith, seekers who are still unsure and people who had been pushed away by the church for one reason or another. I probably could have given long theological discourses about each part, and filled those gathered with Scripture, but I decided to let them reflect on each of the basic movements of the Eucharist and to give them information about the early church at its practice of sharing the meal.
By Kim Cape.
I accepted the invitation to write this piece on women’s leadership because it gave me a chance to reflect more intentionally on this rather fluid topic. I entered Perkins School of Theology at SMU in 1975, graduating in 1979. I joined The United Methodist Church in 1972. Women were perhaps 10 percent of the Perkins student body at that time. There were two women on the faculty. One in Hebrew Bible and one in Pastoral Care. Period. Some of the male students made a pact not to date any of us because it was clear to them that we were there for the MRS. Degree, not the MDiv. That didn’t last long!
By Sandra L. Steiner Ball, Bishop, West Virginia Conference.
“God rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas” (Ps. 107:3 MSG). God has been rounding people up since the beginning of time, calling them, and empowering them to be God’s change agents in this world. Clearly this calling is not, and has never been, limited to men. Both the Old and New Testaments include women. The recorders of biblical history have shared their stories habitually from the perspective of the dominant culture, and most often from a distinctly male perspective and understanding of the world. The fact that women appear in Scripture in and of itself is indeed one of God’s miracles in a world where leadership has been predominantly male.
By Aida Irizarry-Fernández, New England Conference.
Many years ago, when I was in supervision for my LICSW, my supervisor at the Great Brook Valley Health Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, said to me, “Aida, you must get rid of your Messiah complex; otherwise you will not be able to truly fulfill your call.” Jackie was a former Roman Catholic nun, a very skillful clinician, and an intuitive woman of faith. Her statement took me by surprise; I remember that the word that made me most uncomfortable was complex. I immediately lifted my guard and deployed my defenses: “I have no complex; what are you talking about?”
By Ouida F. Lee, North Texas Annual Conference.
While waiting to board an American Airline flight one day, I noticed the slogan painted near the open door that read, “One World Alliance.” Uncertain of the airline’s interpretation of this sign, it still spoke very openly to me: we are connected. Though American is an individual company with its own values and goals, it is simultaneously connected with all other transporters, sharing the same airspace and being guided by the same air traffic controllers, unique and diverse.
By Ellen Blue, Louisiana Annual Conference.
In an issue of WellSprings published a dozen years ago, I wrote about a group of my female colleagues in seminary. We met each week, initially as a study group but soon as a support group for processing what it meant to be second-career women preparing for ministry. One of us compared our time together with the necessary escape for steam when cooking beans. “If you don’t let that steam off, you wind up with beans on the ceiling,” she said, and we became the Bean Group.