LWC Hosts School For Emerging United Methodist Pastors
Posted on Saturday, June 04, 2011 [8:26 PM]
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Stanley and Virginia Baker had
both thought about serving as pastors in The United Methodist
Church. But it was not until almost three dozen years of marriage
that they told one another directly of the desire.
This week, the Bakers were among two dozen individuals who
attended the United Methodist License for Pastoral Ministry School,
held on the A.P. White Campus of Lindsey Wilson College.
The annual weeklong school -- sponsored by the Kentucky Annual
Conference of The United Methodist Church -- certifies laypersons
to serve as pastors and present sacraments in their assigned United
Methodist churches. This was the 11th time in the last 12 years LWC
has hosted the school for aspiring ministers.
The Bakers have been certified laypersons in the church for
almost two years. They had both talked about hearing God's call to
do more. But it was not until recently that the Bakers -- who have
been married for 36 years -- talked about attending the school
together so they could pastor a church.
Attending the school allowed them to be co-pastors of East
Bernstadt United Methodist Church in Laurel County, Ky.
"We arrived at the decision independently, although we had both
talked a lot about it," said Virginia Baker, who is from London,
During the week at LWC, the school's participants heard from
speakers on church doctrine and theology, they learned about church
procedure, and they also meet with leaders in The United Methodist
Church. When they finished the six-day school, the students
will have accumulated 80 hours of study.
"It becomes a crash course in everything you need to know to
serve a church," said Mary Lou Stephens of Richmond, Ky., one of
four church leaders who ran the school.
Some of the school's students will eventually go on to seminary,
but almost all of them will immediately serve many of the church's
smaller congregations, where there is an acute need.
Annual Conference could not exist without these folks,"
Stephens said. "Smaller churches rely on them, but so do larger
churches, who come to see them as a de facto associate pastor."
Rachel S. Wirrig of Highland Heights, Ky., is one of those
individuals who will serve one of those larger churches.
After majoring in public relations and serving an internship in
New York City's fashion industry, Wirrig heard the call to serve
the church. She spent two years in the seminary before leading the
300-member Asbury United Methodist Church in Northern Kentucky.
"Because I'm new to the Kentucky Annual Conference, this has
been a great way to network with other people who serve the church
and extend my reach to more contacts and resources," she said.
Carol Weddle, who used the school to secure her position as LWC
assistant chaplain, said the school "has been one of the most
exciting experiences of my life."
"The personal reflection, the fellowship and the opportunity to
contemplate things have just been wonderful," she said.
Weddle's enthusiasm for the school is one reason Stephens said
she enjoys leading it.
"I love people who are being called into ministry and being able
to help them," she said. "I love to be where people are learning
where God is calling them and they are responding. … I also learn
from them because they have things they want to share."