Like a number of pastors around our conference, I will be entering a new season of ministry on Sunday, July 1, 2018. As I’ve been thinking about becoming your West District Superintendent, the chorus of a song has been popping into my head. It’s “Getting to Know You” from the musical The King and I. The chorus goes
“Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you,
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.”
I am looking forward to getting to know the churches and pastors of the West District.
I thought I would share a little about myself, so you can begin to get to know me. My roots in the West District are deep. I was called into ministry in Blythe, California and the former Blythe Community UMC sent me into candidacy. I preached my first sermon as a local pastor at Haven UMC in Jerome and my second sermon at Mountain View UMC in Cottonwood. The 25th anniversary of that first sermon will be this November. I served with my husband, George, as his associate pastor until being appointed to Shepherd of the Valley UMC where I was their solo pastor. After a season with them, my husband and I were appointed co-pastors at Prescott UMC. As you can see my ministry has been mostly in the West District. Most recently, I served as the Senior Pastor at North Scottsdale UMC. It is exciting to be coming back to a district that has been a part of so many milestones in my life and ministry.
I was raised in the Army where my father was a career officer. God trained me well for the appointment system! Growing up, we lived on a base or in a town for one and a half to three years before moving on. I have lived in two foreign countries, France and Venezuela, and visited many more. I attended college earning degrees in Business Management and Construction Science at Kansas State University, a master’s degree in Civil Engineering: Construction from Stanford University, and finally an Masters of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology. I spent six years working for construction contractors moving from jobsite to jobsite across five states. I had no idea then that Blythe would become a crossroads in my life.
While working on a prison project in Blythe, I visited the local United Methodist Church. While I was raised Episcopalian, there wasn’t an Episcopal church in Blythe, so I visited the United Methodist Church and boy, did it change my life! I met George, who was the pastor of the church and we married. As we began our life together, he encouraged me to answer my call to ministry. I have two adult stepsons who have families of their own and we have two adult daughters. We also have six grandchildren and two foster grandchildren; we are a large, happy, blended family.
I am looking forward to getting to know you, the people and pastors of the West District, and learning your stories as I visit to worship and to lead your Charge Conferences. Over the last few weeks, I have been praying for the churches and pastors by name, a practice I will continue. I have prayed specifically for those who are beginning a new season of ministry. 1 Corinthians 3:4-9 has been a theme verse for me during this time of transition reminding me that we plant and water, till and nourish the fields, God is the one who makes it grow. I can’t wait to see what God will grow among, between, and through us in the season ahead.
In joyful anticipation,