The Road to Ordination…
On June 13, 2012, I was commissioned as a deacon in the United Methodist Church of the South Carolina Conference (UMC). My first appointment by Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor and Bishop Michael Watson was to serve as the associate pastor at Lithia Springs United Methodist Church. Lithia Springs had just received a senior pastor and the church was extremely excited he was serving them and the community. Unfortunately, the senior pastor had stage four-lymphoma. Due to his illness, I deferred a year from the ordination process. As a deacon, I embraced what it truly meant to be in ministry by Word and Service.
In 2013, I started as the campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia State University. I work with college students in spirituality, educational opportunities, and outreach ministries. Furthermore, as a deacon serving the Metro Atlanta area, I have been nurturing relationships with students to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
No matter how challenging or humbling the journey has gotten, I understand what it truly means to be called to a lifetime of servant leadership. I would not change my journey for anything. The vocation of a deacon has truly taught me that I must step out of my comfort zone, meet people where they are, and be authentic. It has taught me that Angela Renee has to get her hands dirty at times in order to do what God has “called” her to do.
Nevertheless, the road to ordination has not been easy. A part of ordination is writing paperwork for the Board of Ordained Ministry. I received the instructions from the board at the end of June 2014 and began my writing journey immediately in order to meet my obligations in a timely manner before the required due date approached in three short months.
In July 2014, I went to the Philippines for the Global Young People’s Convocation and experienced my life flash before eyes in the midst of a category three typhoon. Once we landed, a bus picked us up from the airport and transported us to our destination through the heavy rainfall. I began to get nervous and worried about our safety as to whether or not it was safe to be driving or riding on a bus in a state of emergency for the Philippines? I quietly prayed, “God be with us as we travel.” Once we arrived at the Tagaytay Retreat Center the rain and the storm picked up. Around 1:45a.m., the rain burst through the window of my room and began to flood the room. Not only was I nervous, I was scared! Seeing the rain and storm continue to get violent allowed fear to settle within me. I can even recall having thoughts cross my mind lacking trust in God.
Where was God and why was God allowing something like this to happen to me? The good news is we praise and thank God for His saving grace and protection over us throughout the storm. God is our maker; he pursues us, and offers a relationship with us. God gives us faith to say yes to the relationship and live as children of God. He gives us the power to live and grow deeper in a relationship with Him. I continue to be amazed at the beautiful ways the Holy Spirit works.
On Wednesday, August 13th, my aunt Rayette Bouldrick suffered a massive stroke. Doctors told my family that my aunt would not make it through and that they need to “pull the plug.” My family and her three children were devastated. I even drove to Florida to see her and saw that she was unresponsive. One of the days that I was there, I read Matthew 9: 1-8. The scripture lesson reveals Jesus healing the paralyzed man. I prayed with my aunt Rayette and the only reason I knew she heard me was her heart rate would increase. Most importantly, I knew the Holy Spirit in the room. She literally was not responsive with touch, nor was she able to give the doctors much feedback. Her children and my uncle were waiting for her to wake up out of this coma, but the chances were looking very slim. On Thursday, September 25th, God and my aunt Rayette decided it was time for her to come out of the coma and be among the living with us. We praise God that she is still here! The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.
The week my paperwork for the Board of Ordained Ministry was due, I experienced a great loss in my family. On September 14th, my great- grandmother went to spend eternal life with God. It was one of the hardest things I have had and continue to experience. I had the honor and privilege to speak at my grandmother’s funeral and say the final words as they put her casket into the ground.
On November 6th, the South Carolina Board of Ordained Ministry approved me for full-ordination as a deacon. I was truly relieved and thankful. I only had one thing that I would need to complete to be ordained and it was Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
Grady Memorial Hospital is Atlanta’s number one trauma hospital in the southeast. For the past sixteen weeks, I have been serving as a chaplain at the hospital. I have seen new life, death, joy, tears, and so much more. There are not enough words or tears to explicate all that I have heard or seen. What I can say is that as I have met various people and experienced different situations, my heart is changing for people. Slowly, I am recognizing and understanding what it means to be kind to everyone. Kindness is a fruit of the spirit that we may forget. God’s nature is that of incredible loving-kindness towards all people. I have a quote that inspires and touches my heart which states, “BE KIND. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Throughout this journey to ordination, I have faced many battles, but I am reminded not to fear. With God on our side we are more than able. It will not be by our strength, but by His that victory will come. Be assured there is no weakness in God.
I am excited to see where this new journey will take and lead me.
- I would like to invite you and your family to my ordination service on Monday, June 8th, 2015 at the Florence Civic Center, in Florence, South Carolina. The service will begin at 7 PM.
I would like to thank you for the love, prayers, and various ways you have impacted my life.
Blessings for the journey,
Rev. Angela Renee Johnson
Special Thanks to: All my parents, family, friends, and mentors, who made a difference in my life.
I thank God for His plan and what He continues to do. I praise God for the amazing saints who have inspired me on the journey: Bertha A. Johnson (great-grandmother), Rosa Bauldrick (grandmother), Georgia Mae Sheard (mom’s sister) Bertha P. Johnson (dad’s sister), Emma Shuler (dad’s aunt), and Kim Bentley (speech and debate coach in high school).