This summer BCMC is hosting Allie Shoup in the Ministry Inquiry Program, a service-learning experience sponsored by Mennonite Church USA to provide opportunity for college students to explore pastoral ministry. Allie will participate in a variety of activities at BCMC supervised by pastor Heidi Regier Kreider. Allie and her husband Will are students at Bethel College, and live in Newton. BCMC members are invited to host them for meals (or provide meals) on Sunday noons and Monday through Thursday evenings, as a way to get better acquainted and support her in this exploration of ministry. Please contact the church office if you are interested in doing this. Here is Allie’s own introduction of herself and some reflections upon beginning her Ministry Inquiry Program experience:
Hi-Hello! I’m Allie Shoup (though you’ll find me on some lists as Alexandra), a senior Bible and Religion major at Bethel College and the Summer 2015 Ministry Inquiry Program student and Intern here at BCMC. I am a dog person without a dog. I love yoga on lazy summer afternoons, driving in the country with my husband Will as we listen to indie folk, and sweet cups of hot tea sipped over a good book. Before the age of 20 I had worked in, lived in, or visited 15 countries on 3 continents. I am SCUBA certified, macaroni and cheese is not healthy but is my favorite meal, and I love the color teal. And while all of these things are a snapshot of me — my actual story, what led me here to you, is what follows.
I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas with my parents Rhonda and Steven Shook, who are both practicing educators, along with my little brother Evan (two years my junior), and a myriad of young women who came into our home as exchange students or just someone looking for a place to belong. I was blessed to have a home led by parents striving to live out their Christian faith with involvement in the Church of God (out of Anderson Indiana). I spent a couple of years of my childhood in the jungles of Papua New Guinea as my parents worked in a missionary school for Wycliff Bible Translators, and I returned to the other side of the island (Indonesia), flying-solo from the US, my first year of high school. I finished up my last three years of high school at Maize High and began my college career at William Jewell College in Kansas City in the Fall of 2011. After my first semester I found my way home to Wichita to attend Wichita State University for three semesters, and this is where I met my husband Will. My eyes met Will’s in a class on the Apostle Paul taught Wes Bergen in January of 2013, and our whirlwind romance led to a June wedding under the cottonwoods on his parents’ farm 10 miles north of Pratt, Kansas just five months later.
As young people devoted to God’s kingdom and committed to seriously living out Christ’s call to a radical life of nonviolence, justice, and community, we found a place of solace in the Mennonite circles that we encountered through Wes Bergen. After Wes married us and we moved to Lawrence, Kansas to live and work for a year, we found a small place of belonging at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence. The Mennonite communities that we met were open to the difficult questions that we had about the essence of Jesus’s message and what the radical implications of that message were on our daily living. And so it was, that after a year hiatus from school, we decided that we wanted to finish up our undergraduate educations at a Mennonite institution, which we knew would have a history in this kind of discourse and individuals exposed to our beliefs — Bethel College.
At Bethel, I have been blessed with Faculty and Staff that want to engage with me, but Campus Pastor Peter Goerzen in particular has worked to encourage me in my interests and talents. Peter approached me in the Fall asking if I had considered ministry as a path I might be interested in or called to, and invited me to consider visiting Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in November and participating in the Ministry Inquiry Program in the Summer. This was the first time that the path of pastoral leader had been presented to me as an option. The church I attended with my parents as a child never had a woman in a head leadership role, and the churches that I attended individually in high school and college had strictly prohibited women from roles of leadership (except for minor roles held in conjunction with a husband). Here, a new door was opened for me, and behind it lied a vocation that was a beautiful mosaic of each and every one of my passions: education, social-work, philosophy, theology, music, art, public speaking, leadership, and the list goes on. In this line of work, I see endless opportunities to learn and grow and contribute, and be myself.
This opportunity at BCMC this summer to explore all the facets of the job of a pastor is a gift that I am inexpressibly grateful for. I hope to find, in these few months, some direction for my future, encouragement in the midst of uncertainty, and the chance to grow as both student and teacher. While in your midst I will be working with Pastor Heidi Regier-Kreider to understand her job, I will sit in on Sunday Schools, hang out with the Youth, run the Active Response time during Vacation Bible School, accompany the Youth to Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City, participate in worship on Sunday mornings, and accompany your spiritual leaders to hospital rooms, funeral homes, and committee meetings. Twice this summer, you will find me behind the pulpit sharing a sermon and I thank you in advance for your loving support and encouragement as a I learn a craft of which I am only an apprentice. These first few days have been a whirlwind, but I am filled with thanks and excitement and joy and energy as I enter this new adventure and time of exploration. I can’t wait to get to know your community and all of the wonderful individuals that make up the body of Christ here.
With many thanks and blessings,
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