I met Gwen Brown in May of 2012. I mentored with Gwen for about 2 years, and toward the middle of my second year with the Cornerstone congregation, Gwen approached me and matter-of-factly announced that it was time to start thinking about my ordination.
Gwen had this way of knowing things about people.
She and I had a lot of conversations about ministry, and she would listen to my plans to be a hospital chaplain and each time, she would mention something about congregational ministry.
Gwen agreed that I was well-suited for chaplaincy, but she knew, even before I did, that I was better suited for congregational ministry.
She gave me my first opportunity to preach in a real sanctuary, behind a real pulpit. And she showed me how to have a good conversation with someone, without having all the answers.
She taught me how to show people the love of Christ.
In August of 2013, the day I started my residency at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, I got word that Gwen had died.
Gwen’s influence in my life and her belief in me and my ministry talents, along with preaching and a new found confidence in who I am as a person and as a child of God have been the major turning points in my spiritual life so far.
After my first preaching class, though I was petrified that 4th grade was going to happen all over again,
I felt a shift in my relationship with God and it was a very humbling experience to feel like my childhood insecurities about myself had been redeemed in some way,
and that those experiences were things that could be used to support a life of ministry, instead of getting in the way