The 2021 class of ordinands share their statements of call below.
I first sensed a call to ministry while serving a little church in Rosebud, Texas. Loving and leading God’s church fit me like a glove. Ordained in the Baptist tradition, I continued my wild and wonderful adventure of ministry in the streets of Los Angeles all the way to the emergency room at UAB. After considerable thought and prayer, I felt God leading me on another adventure—The United Methodist Church. I was drawn to its devotion to God’s grace and have seen this grace realized in every person who helped get me to where I am today.
I never want someone to feel that they cannot live out their lives with boldness and power within their callings to the world. I’m called to help develop leaders in the church, who will take our transformational message to the world and lead people into discovering their own avenue of ministry within the priesthood of all believers. In my role as a Deacon and discharging my duty through higher education, I serve my colleagues and my students by providing them with the knowledge, tools, and resources of executing successful ministry in their local contexts.
Emily Nelms Chastain
Since I was young, I knew I would never go into ministry. However, God had a plan for me. God began calling me to serve while I was in college through youth ministry even if I did not realize it. Then on a mission trip to Ecuador during a foot washing service, I heard God calling me to serve Christ’s Church just as he served his disciples. Since then, I have been blessed with incredible support and encouragement as I journeyed along this path to serve and be there for those seeking Christ and growing in the Kingdom of God.
I first felt the call to ministry when I was in high school, and since then it has been a process of saying yes to the next step. Throughout this journey to ordained ministry, I have had countless mentors and friends who have helped me see and lean into where God might be leading me next. I am excited for what the future holds, for how God will continue to call me, and all the ways the Spirit will continue work and move in our world and through our church.
I first discerned a call to ministry as a response to the way my home church showed me the love of God. It was always a safe and uplifting place to be – I am especially grateful for my youth pastor, Jason Sansbury. My pursuit of vocational ministry began at Birmingham-Southern where I was mentored by great people from our conference – namely, Laura Sisson, Jack Hinnen, and Julie Holly. While at BSC and Candler, I had opportunities to pastor people of diverse backgrounds and life stages, which prepared me for a life in ministry. I am excited to join the clergy of North Alabama!
I met Jesus in my early 30’s and fell completely in love with Him and His church. He surprised me a few years later by calling me into vocational ministry. How could He use a person like me? It was hard to believe, but the Holy Spirit is undeniable. Over the years, He has graced and equipped me in the areas of discipleship and spiritual formation. My passion is for the local church and the pastors that strive each day to help people realize their own belovedness. My calling is to come alongside them and to help support their ministries of spiritual growth and connection with Christ.