As a mom, wife, pastor, daughter, granddaughter, ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church, and so on, I answer to a lot of different titles. But, this one is one of my favorites as it seems so fitting for my journey.
As a Pastor and Character Education and Bible teacher at my children’s school, I was addressed in this way a few years ago by a friend of my son Teddy. This little guy had forgotten my name. But, he knew I was his friend’s Mom. So, in that moment, I was dubbed Pastor “Teddy’s Mom.”
This title has so much truth to it as my identity as a pastor at local United Methodist church where my children attend elementary school lives out its day to day. Weekly adventures are known to include leading chapel while one of my kids “home from school with the germ of the day” plays video games behind the pulpit, and running back and forth between our house and the church at least once every day of the week as we worship, serve, attend school, play sports, and inevitably forget something in my office.
MY STORY INCLUDES
…my husband Ryan whom I’ve known since middle school. We started dating senior year of high school when I asked him to the homecoming dance. He turned me down at first for a fishing tournament. (I know… Right?) But, thankfully, I talked him into it and we’ve been by each other’s side since.
Together we have two amazing boys whom I love more every day. Teddy, our older son, is our little turtle who goes about life in his happy, steady pace. Teddy was diagnosed a few years ago with low working memory and slow processing. His heart is as big as his eyes are blue. We are so proud of the young man he is becoming.
More like a squirrel than a turtle, our younger son Matt is funny, compassionate, and spirited. Matt was just recently diagnosed with ADHD and we are learning what that means for our family. With the right tools, Matty will surely do great things in this world.
I find myself continually inspired challenged, encouraged, frustrated, and amazed by this adventure of motherhood. Who knew it would take every bit of love, patience, gentleness, and all those other fruits of the spirit to bring up these little people? But, I love them beyond measure and I’m so blessed to be their mom.
MINISTRY WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Ministry with children and families is my heart and I’ve been serving in churches throughout Florida as an Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. Currently, I serve as Pastor of Schools and Families at Christ Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I love bringing the biblical story to life in creative ways, sharing God’s grace and love, and introducing children and families to the beauties of worship and the liturgical seasons. I also love sharing some of my interfaith background and traditions as a child of a Jewish Dad and Christian Mom.
I love all things crafty. I have a small addiction to chalkboards and the color aqua. It is a neutral in my book and can be paired with any color.
Pinterest boards, books on Christian education, and coffee are my bosom friends. Flip flops are my everyday footwear of choice. I’m known to rescue stray dogs and furniture. I love to cook and bake.
Though, we have a habit of ordering tacos and pizza a little more than I’d like to admit. Ministry and two kids with learning and behavioral differences gets in the way of homemade meals and clean floors sometimes. But, that’s okay. I’m learning to have patience with myself and breathe. Amen?
The United Methodist Women present this study as we work to live out our vision, in part which states "faith, hope, and love in action on behalf of women children and youth around the world."
This study is based on the book Managing Our Emotions, by Dr. Trudy Rankin.
We feel that our witness to the most vulnerable segments of our society, our children, is very much needed at this time. This text, written long before the pandemic, focuses on anxiety and stress children are encountering and is quite timely.
Below are the links to all 4 sessions of this study:
This study is designed for Elementary age children (Pre-K to 5th grade). It also can be modified for rising 6th graders.
Should you have any questions, comments or feedback, please email Judith Pierre-Okerson, UMW Florida President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knitted Together for God's Good Work explores how we as children of God are joined and linked together into the whole body of Christ. Even at times when social distancing or other obstacles may keep us physically apart, we are knit together in community to transform the world.
Our Leadership Team is an amazing group of ladies who are committed to help put Faith, Hope & Love into Action! Think you would be a good fit? Contact us!
The entire program and organization of United Methodist Women focuses on mission. Our mission initiatives include:
From its beginning, United Methodist Women has focused on ministries with women, children, and youth.
Women have been empowered by leadership education opportunities, mission education, the Reading Program, tools for advocacy and more. These opportunities allow women to act and to empower women in the United States and abroad.
United Methodist Women also support programs and projects aimed at improving the special needs of women because of their refugee statuses, their immigration statuses, situations in which they are abused, their high illiteracy rate in some countries, their economic dependence, their educational disparities, and much more.
A special emphasis of United Methodist Women is children, because women care for children. If children are raised with safety, security, food, shelter, education, and basic human rights, these children will grow to be loving and secure adults. United Methodist Women believe deeply in responding to Jesus' mandate to "care for the least of these."
Children often do not have a voice in this world, so United Methodist Women cares for them and advocates on their behalf. United Methodist Women commits to children globally through community centers, educational opportunities for refugee children, homes for street children, advocacy against sexual exploitation and child labor, educational institutions and much more.
United Methodist Women work with youth organizations globally and with programs and projects that support and empower youth. United Methodist Women also enables youth to be in mission by support of the US-2 program, the mission intern program and the Global Justice Volunteers program
A special emphasis of the organization has been to involve young women in all the ministries and leadership of United Methodist Women. A teen and college/university women consultative group helps direct the program of United Methodist Women to be more inclusive of younger women.
"United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church."