Ordination: 20th Anniversary!

Twenty years ago today, I was ordained by Virginia-Highland Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  As a Southern Baptist girl and woman, the journey to ordination was arduous. In 1988, I went to seminary to become a children’s minister…because that’s all I’d seen women do in church.  By the time I graduated, I had embraced my calling to pastoral ministry. But in 1992, the SBC was taking yet another hard right turn. Finding a church to pastor wasn’t an option.


I entered the PhD program at Emory University.  A year after I moved to Atlanta, the saint of a man who would become my husband, Allen Mullinax, moved down.  He became the Minister of Music at Virginia-Highland. After we married in 1995, I began attending Virginia-Highland, as well.

Image result for virginia highland baptist church atlanta pictures


At that point, the congregation was small…but, oh, how they loved me!  And helped me to affirm my gifts for ministry and my call to pastor. I will forever be grateful to Rev. Tim Shirley, who gave me numerous opportunities to “practice” ministry.  And I’ll always be grateful to Virginia-Highland for ordaining me.


In 20 years of ministry, I’ve been blessed to serve three congregations.  I served a year and a half at Virginia-Highland as its Associate Minister for Christian Nurture.  It was part time, but very fulfilling. It’s also the first time Allen and I served on church staff together, which was a joy.


In 2001, I was called to my first full-time pastorate, Pilgrimage UCC in Marietta, Georgia.  In so many ways, I became a pastor at Pilgrimage.  I learned so much from those good and loving people!  And for 11 of the 16 years I served there, Allen and I worked together…which was another deep joy.  


As I reflect on my time at Pilgrimage, two things stand out.  First, I learned a lot about what it means to navigate the world as a transgender person.  I’ll always be grateful to the members who shared their lives with me and with our congregation and taught us so much.  The second big thing I learned–was just how beautiful and inspiring stained glass windows can be.

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I moved to my current call a year and a half ago.  When I came to First Congregational UCC in Asheville, NC, I thought I’d learned all there was to learn in my 18 and a half years of ordained ministry.  I know now that I was just getting started! The generosity of the folks at FCUCC, the creativity, the support, the strong commitment to social justice and peacemaking…I am growing as a pastor in my work at First…we are growing together as a congregation.  I am DEEPLY blessed.


On this 20th anniversary of my ordination, I am awash in gratitude.  What grace! What love! What joy!



About reallifepastor

I'm a pastor who's working out her faith...just like everyone else.
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1 Response to Ordination: 20th Anniversary!

  1. showens22 says:

    I believe your sixties is when you begin to reach the height of your powers, so it gets better and better from here on out!

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