Page 26 - 2022 June/July Newsletter
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Page 26                                                                Southern Pennsylvania District

                     Where do Church of the Brethren pastors come from? Has the thought ever even
              seriously crossed your mind? If I could easily take a poll, I would be quite interested to
              learn what the most typical answer must be. Failing the accumulation of such data, I would
              however speculate that so many of us have so many other questions on our minds that we
              seldom, if ever, even think about it. By simple observation, I can tell you the Brethren are
              a humble lot who certainly do not seem to answer that question in any of the following
              ways. Well, the next pastor could be the person sitting to the right of me, or the one to the
              left. Well, my goodness, the next pastor could even be the person sitting in the seat I am
              sitting in! But I submit to you, this is exactly what they should be thinking. Peter wrote in I
              Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special
              possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his
              wonderful light.” Each one of us who believes and has come willingly into the community
              has the right “pedigree,” and many more than you realize have gifts that would benefit
              them, and many others were they to heed a calling to pastoral ministry.

                    My own call arose from a time when as the newly minted Board chair (first meeting, mind
             you) our pastor informed us that he would be moving on to serve a new congregation. We went
             through a significant period when the pulpit needed to be filled from week to week, and my grati-
             tude and admiration for those who came to serve our need grew week by week. I found myself
             possessed by a steadily deepening desire to be able to do what they did, whether it would be for my
             home congregation, or some other congregation in similar need. Many of those answering my
             telephone calls were bi-vocational, and their ability to serve the church in the important pastoral
             role of delivering sermons convinced me that I too could serve in ways I had previously felt to be
             out of my gifts range. Through those diverse souls who helped my home congregation continue to
             worship, God extended a call which for me shed light on the much more varied pallet that is
             pastoral ministry.

                 I  have been answering that call for over twenty years now having been licensed in
          2007 and ordained in 2011. Because of my own bi-vocational approach, both milestones were
          facilitated through what had been the Three-Year Reading course, but what became SVMC.
          The years have lent validity to the understanding that God may indeed set us on the road
          with little in our pockets (not even any pockets for that matter!), but as we trust Him for the
          journey, He equips us along the way. The sisters and brothers in ministry, SVMC and others
          called to the task of equipping have always been there to hold out God’s hand when I needed
          it. I trust them for my journey and with God’s help you can trust them for yours too, that is

              Robert Stein serves his home congregation at the Uniontown Church of the Brethren in the
              Western PA District as their Associate Pastor
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