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Rev. Brooke Burris Isingoma – St. Matthew UMC, Mesa

by | Jul 17, 2018 | East District News Webpage

Isingoma, Pastor Brooke

Rev. Brooke Burris Isingoma

I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ, the beautiful mountain town. Though I loved Flagstaff, I was ready for new adventures upon graduating from Flagstaff High School. As an undergraduate in Santa Barbara, CA, I managed to do some studying even with a view of the beach from my dorm room, and with the assistance of wonderful faculty, increased my love for theology and philosophy. After earning a BA at Westmont College I went to Duke Divinity School intending to pursue an academic career. I loved Duke, and second career classmates became a vital part of my education. Soon I realized how much life experience I did not have at 22, and decided to pursue an M.Div rather than an MTS, increasing my time at Duke to three years, and bringing on the field education placement requirement. I enjoyed my field eds more than I thought I would, and upon completion, my supervising pastors encouraged me not to close the door on ordained ministry. At that time I decided I should at least affiliate with a denomination that would ordain me if I ever felt so lead, (I had been Baptist and non-denominational) and I joined the United Methodist Church. My experience of the UMC at Duke demonstrated commitment both to good theology/doctrine and to social justice, as well as room for diversity of opinion and practice, all things I found attractive and reflective of my own Christian identity.

Upon finishing my M.Div, I had an increasing interest in African Christianity, and wanted to spend some time among African Christians. Uganda Christian University, an Anglican institution, invited me to teach general ed religion classes and assist with building a residential life program, and I moved to Mukono, Uganda. The five years I spent in Uganda were wonderfully rich personally and professionally, and I experienced the grace of God through brothers and sisters with whom I shared one Spirit and one Lord, with different forms of faith and practice. My son Landon was born in Uganda, and he and I moved back to the US when he was a year old.

We spent some time in Flagstaff, where I worked at NAU and got some work done toward a Ph.D in Systematic Theology, pursued with the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Landon and I spent the first half of 2014 in Oman, where I coordinated a study abroad program for students at Christian colleges to learn about Islam and Arabic language and culture. For the 2014-15 school year, I served as the Campus Chaplain at Andrew College, a little United Methodist college in south Georgia. When the school decided to eliminate my position and make it part of the charge of the local pastor on appointment, the district superintendent encouraged me to prepare to take an appointment at annual conference, 2015. The South Georgia Conference was very good to me, licensing me as a local pastor and certifying my candidacy with much support. As it turned out, doors opened for us to return to the Desert Southwest, and I transferred my candidacy from South Georgia.

I come to the East District after serving three years as a half-time local pastor in Page at Page Community UMC. A half-time appointment allowed me to finish my dissertation and complete the degree at UKZN. I found I really enjoyed ministry in the local church, and also completed the commissioning requirements while in Page, and as of annual conference this year I am a provisional elder. I am very much looking forward to being in ministry with St. Matthew UMC and with the East District.

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