October 26, 2022
A Note from Molly Collier
Good day, friends! I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you in person and have enjoyed getting to know you during the community dinners, in between services, and in taking part in Wednesday night classes. I have been grateful for these moments of connection and look forward to many more during my time at HUMC.
Relationships, authentic relationships, have always been an anchor for me, and I am passionate about connecting with people and helping other folks make life-giving connections as well.
Passion & Hopes for Ministry
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with y’all a little bit about me and my passion and hopes for ministry as I continue to discern where God is leading me.
I am a second year student at Methodist Theological School of Ohio (MTSO). Prior to moving to Ohio for seminary I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, where I was a preschool teacher and a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner for the preschool.
I had felt a call to professional ministry and seminary years ago, but because of life circumstances I put it off. When I heard about MTSO through a pastor friend, I checked out their website and felt immediately drawn to them. I saw that they have a Master of Arts in Social Justice degree program, and that they are an open, inclusive, and affirming space for folks like myself who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
I had been out of school for twelve years and was hesitant to apply. I was at a point in my life when I was looking to change careers and wanted a change of scenery from Atlanta. I also saw the need to be more biblically and theologically grounded in the DEI work I was doing.
Leap of Faith
I took a leap of faith, applied, got accepted, received a full tuition scholarship, and started in the Social Justice program last fall.
This was my way of getting a theological education without actually doing a Master of Divinity program. “Okay God. I’ll go to seminary but I’m not going to do what I hear you telling me to do.”
What was God telling me to do, you may be asking yourself. Congregational ministry or working for a church. While I have been a part of a church community for most of my life, and the majority of those years have been in a United Methodist Church, I was not sure whether I wanted to commit my life to full-time congregational ministry.
Over the years I have seen the way religion has been used as a weapon to harm marginalized folks, and I did not want to be connected to that. Particularly in the United Methodist denomination, I was not sure that I wanted to be connected with a denomination that was not fully supportive or inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Church Communities Supporting Me
I think, however, about the ways my church communities have been supportive of me over the years in various seasons of my life: seasons of great struggle, seasons of great celebration, and the mundane, everyday, ordinary seasons. I know the life-giving power of healthy congregations and the authentic relationships that have come out of the church communities I have been a part of.
Last school year, midway through the year, I changed my degree program to Master of Divinity and decided I was going to be a chaplain. Again, I was trying to avoid my calling to congregational ministry.
All that came to a halt this past summer. I had the opportunity to do a six week internship with a UMC church in Seattle. I found a church that was open, affirming, and inclusive, with an openly gay pastor. They also had a focus on community engagement and social justice, which are part of my passions.
Going into the internship I told the pastor that preaching scared me and I would think about doing a sermon in my time there. I ended up preaching two collaborative sermons with the pastor and one of my own sermons. I realized that I actually enjoyed preaching and was pretty good at it.
Through my time building relationships with the congregation and the pastor, I was able to see and experience what it would be like to be an openly queer pastor. I had the support of a church to be my authentic queer, genderqueer self, and I finally realized my queerness was divine. I no longer had to run from my calling of congregational ministry.
Responding to my Call to Ministry
I was grateful to hear about HUMC and the ministry you all are doing in the Hilliard community. I appreciate the visual of the Love Vortex and the embodiment of radical love and hospitality.
In the few weeks I have been here, I have felt deeply connected and supported. I look forward to our continued time together and the ways we can learn and grow from each other.
Molly Collier (they/she)
MTSO Student Intern
MCollier @ MTSO.edu