25 Years of Ministry

25 Years of Ministry

As I said on facebook the other day, “Well, it's the morning after and it feels surreal.” Thank you to everyone who surprised me with a celebration of 25 years together in ministry! It has been a rewarding, cooperative ministry that has also been a blessing to me. Thank you! It is worth noting (to me) that another anniversary passed quietly by on June 12. There was a photo of the event in the pictures my sister put together for the celebration Sunday. It was from June 12, 1977, at First Christian Church, Mansfield, Ohio when I was ordained into the Order of Ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It got me to thinking about the many influences that led me to that day and to this ministry. In no particular order, I thought I might pay due recognition to some of them.

Reverend William C. Newman, Senior Minister at FCC, Mansfield from my childhood through seminary, who taught me to always question everything, always read the verses before and after any Bible reading, and you’ll know the ministry is right when can’t think of anything else you’d rather be doing.

Reverend Elizabeth “Beth” Schwede, Associate Minister at FCC, who encouraged me and taught me about church work.

Nancy (Smith) Harry, who literally came and picked me up to take me to youth group each week when I started High School.

Bluffton University for having faith in me as a transfer student in Religion from a chemical engineering program.

Perry Yoder, professor of Bible at Bluffton (Ohio) University, who gave me a solid foundation for reading and relating the Biblical story.

Vanderbilt University Divinity School for building on that foundation and expanding the box where I had kept God until I had no box.

Madeline Meister, Diane (Meister) Knight, Don Knight, and Fay Barber who supported me throughout the transitions from childhood to adulthood, from Army ROTC scholarship student in chemical engineering to minister, and from Campus Minister to Associate Minister to Regional Staff to Minister/Pastor/Preacher at Jeffersontown Christian Church.

And a host of others including Reverend Fabaus “Bob” Landry, FCC, Knoxville, TN; Joe Rector, Bill McClain, Diane Lovin, Knoxville; Reverend and General Herman Norton, Dean of the Disciples Divinity House, Vanderbilt; Reverend Bronson Netterville, Regional Minister, Nashville, TN; literally hundreds of campers at Bethany Hills Camp, TN; Reverend Herald Monroe, Regional Minister, Ohio; Walter Pigeon, counselor at Camp Christian, Ohio; and dozens of other friends, ministers and even some strangers who provided words of encouragement.

And…all of you! 25 years of ministry is not just my milestone, it is our milestone, together.