When did you decide to be a pastor?
I received the call to ordained ministry when I was 16 years old at my home church, St. George UMC in Maxton, N.C. I heard the call while listening to my pastor preach from Isaiah 6:8 where God asked, ‘Whom shall I send?’ Isaiah answered, ‘Here I am Lord. Send me.’ I sensed deep in my heart that God was calling me to ministry. I responded—‘Lord, here I am. Send somebody else!’ Back in those days women pastors were very rare. I had never seen one, and said as much to God. God sent a female associate to our church within a year. I said yes to my call as a young adult while in Wake Forest University, and went on to Duke Divinity School. God honored me in making me the first ordained woman of color in the history of our Annual Conference.
When did you join the staff of Ocean View UMC?
I was appointed the summer of 2020 by the Bishop to serve as lead pastor with the staff, people and community of Ocean View UMC. The people here have a heart for vibrant worship, for growing as disciples of Jesus Christ and for serving their neighbors in His name. This is a warm, welcoming, mission oriented congregation with gifted staff. I am blessed and excited to be serving Christ with them all in faith, hope and love.
What is your favorite part of being a pastor at OVUMC?
One of the best parts of being a pastor at Ocean View is that I get to serve Christ with the people here who are also excited and committed to growing as His disciples. Ocean View UMC has welcomed me, and loves one another. Yet, their love does not stop within the ‘four walls’ of our lovely facilities. Ocean View people reach out in love and mission to the community, and beyond. It is this church’s heart for using the gifts the Holy Spririt has given them to serve Christ, one another, and their neighbor, that helps make this an awesome place to be a pastor.
Where do you think OVUMC is headed?
For Ocean View I believe there is strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. This is because God is with us! OVUMC continues to grow in grace, faith and numbers. We are making a positive impact on our community in Christ’s name. Even in this time of COVID-19 challenge, we are still being the church–differently and creatively. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know the One who holds the future! I believe God’s future for OVUMC is great, and I am excited to see what God has in store for us together.
How do you spend your free time?
I love the outdoors. An ideal day for me is fishing–on the beach surf, from the pier, or on a boat with family or friends. I enjoy taking a walk on the beach with my dogs. I feel quite happy horse back riding whether on the beach or on a forest trail. In my younger days I lettered in tennis. Now I am more of a spectator of tennis and other sports. I also enjoy ACC basketball—Go Wake Forest! Go Duke!
Do you have family?
I love and serve the Lord as a single person. I share with my sister the home I built in Leland, which is not very far from Oak Island. My three small rescue dogs help keep us lively and entertained.
Anything else to share?
Please do not hesitate to let me know if you need me! My office hours at the church are Monday through Thursday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. You can call me at 910-278-5973 (office), or 910-465-5553 (cell). My email address is [email protected]. Friday is my Sabbath day, so I will not be in the office on Fridays. However, Pastor Rick Russell will be available for pastoral needs on Fridays.