By Vicky Woolridge
What a joy it has been for me to serve as a ministerial intern here at Central. When I first talked with Michael about this possibility months ago and before I started in August, I anticipated that I would learn and grow and be given opportunities to serve in new ways. I was expecting to have a great experience. All of these things became a reality.
What I hadn’t anticipated was just how wonderful and fulfilling this work would be. I have been surprised over and over during these past three months how often I have felt like I was “right where I was called to be”. I experienced this when I was privileged to sit on the chancel steps for the Children’s Message with Blair and her mom or dad and we shared a few moments in God’s presence.
I experienced this when I proclaimed the words of welcome at the communion table and offered the words of institution that ground our faith in Jesus Christ.
I experienced this when our small group gathered each Monday night in October to share our faith stories and support one another in the holy work of sharing faith with our children. We created safe and sacred space as we lit a candle each week with the words, “God is with us”.
And, I also experienced it as I was humbled and honored to stand before the congregation and share a word that God had placed on my heart to preach.
I am grateful for each of these experiences that surprised me by affirming my call to ministry. For me, my initial call to ministry came more than fifty years ago. I was twelve years old, attending church camp at Walter Scott, and clearly sensed God’s call for me to become a minister.
I followed this call and completed my bachelor’s degree in religious studies. Throughout my life I have strived to grow in my faith, knowledge, and commitment to serving God. Although I did not follow the path of attending seminary and becoming an ordained minister, I know that my lifetime of work with children and families has been my ministry.
When the invitation to participate in the regional church’s School for Ministry was extended to me three years ago, I quickly said “yes”, even though I was unsure of where that work might lead me. This internship has been the culminating experience of this program. After completing the program, I will be qualified and eligible to pursue the process of becoming a commissioned
I have loved theologian Fredrich Buechner’s affirmation that:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
It is at this intersection where we can answer our call to serve. I have experienced this “place” during my internship. I would like to thank Michael for his guidance and support as he empowered me and trusted me to take leadership roles in worship. Every time we had our weekly meeting, I came away with a question to ponder and a new perspective or understanding.
I am also grateful for the families that gathered with me each week during October for our small group focused on sharing faith with our children. Together we were able to create a safe and sacred space to ask questions, tell our stories, and share our intentions to guide our children as they grow into their own faith stories.
Thank you, also, to the congregation and staff of Central. You have made me feel welcome and appreciated. I have heard affirmations that my gifts for ministry are evident and authentic. I am praying to discern what God is calling me to do and how I will serve in the next phase of my life now that I have completed my internship and my work for the School for Ministry.
I am grateful to be a member of Central and look forward to serving together as we listen to God’s call for our congregation.