September 20, 2020
The Rev. Dr. Mindy Douglas had her heart set on studying biology followed by a career as a geneticist when she entered college. But, as she says, “God did a little God thing,” and she was called into ministry.
She switched gears and went straight to Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, following college. “It became clear that this is what God was calling me to do in a full time way: to teach, to preach, to care for other people, to be a part of this community that grows and supports one another as we journey in our faith together,” Douglas says.
Douglas is one of five pastors featured this year on bulletin inserts — and for the first time, accompanying PowerPoint slides — for Theological Education Sunday in the PC(USA), which is celebrated today, Sunday, Sept. 20 (or whatever date your congregation prefers). You can find resources here.
Douglas is the pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina, a downtown congregation that is deeply connected to the community it serves. The congregation recently hosted an exhibit that tells the story of racism and segregation in Durham, inviting members to better understand the city’s issues and work toward ending racism. The church actively supports hunger relief ministries, affordable housing initiatives, employment readiness training and restorative justice work.
Community, she says, is crucial to her ministry and in her church — both when church members reach out into their city as well as the ways church members connect and support each other.
“My calling to ministry is in the parish,” she says. “The parish is where you are with families and people from every age. You are with them from the celebration of birth to the sadness of death and you are in these life moments throughout their lives. Even during this pandemic, we are walking together, as best we are able, learning to hold each other close in different ways. I am grateful for the ways my seminary education fostered creativity, imagination and love in me to serve very differently in 2020.”
Lee Hinson-Hasty is Senior Director for Theological Education Funds Development at the Presbyterian Foundation. You can reach Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or his office phone number, (502) 569-5357.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 20, 2020, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Celebrate Theological Education Sunday in September
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Ronnika Muhammad, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Julie Mullins, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Let us pray:
O God, in the midst of a year of disruption, illness, loss, killings, racism and the evidence of so much trauma in our world, help us all feel your presence, sense your peace and find your way forward in the new directions you are calling us all. We give thanks for the pastors in our life, and for the seminaries, theological educators and mentors who help form and reform them. We pray for each seminarian, for strength, courage, wisdom and clarity as they listen for your call even in this uncertain world where we live. May it be. Amen.