Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Teaching Church

Midway Hills is most certainly a teaching church. Part of the heart of this congregation is preparing student ministers for ministry, and helping folks grow into their vocations, callings and gifts. We saw it in the recent past with Molly Goodrich, and we have seen it in this immediate moment with our Minister-In-Training Amber Churchill. The one downside to being a teaching church is that our time with Ministers-in-Training is by definition and purpose limited, and Amber is not an exception to this rule. She knew when she started that this was a student position for one seeking ordination, and as she has been approved for the latter and is just about done being the former, yes, her time with us is finite.

However, her time with us is not done yet—thank God! Amber has been an incredible addition to the life and ministry of this congregation, and there is much more to be done before her departure from us this summer. Because I have answered a few questions repeatedly, I thought putting things into writing may help.

Amber will be ordained here at Midway Hills on Saturday, May 17. While she is under the care of the Alabama/Northwest Florida Region, we are one of her sponsoring congregations and her home has been here for the last few years. She is in the process of entering Search and Call to find a new vocational calling, and once Personnel meets, her day of departure will be set at some point in the summer. We will throw a huge party celebrating her then, too.

The Minister-In-Training program at Midway Hills has a lot of strengths, and in the coming months, the program will be redesigned and restructured to fully utilize the time we spend with each MIT. In August, we will form a search committee and find a new student at Brite Divinity who will have to hear all the great stories about Amber, but who we will be as inclusive, loving, caring and growing for as we were with the soon-to-be Rev. Churchill. These are great times here at Midway Hills—the Reign of God keeps scraping up against us, doesn’t it?

I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday. Shalom y’all,


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