I could not believe my eyes when checking out Christianity Today, that they had an article on a Female Pastor and her churches, plus that she is United Methodist.
But here is some of the article and the link to it.
I admire this woman!
And kudos to Christianity Today for carrying this article.
After the Fire
A Methodist pastor and her two congregations discover hope amid the ashes of adversity.
After experiencing events during the past year that are best described as miraculous, Methodist minister Julia Bolling knows something about the power of prayer.
Bolling, who also works as a part-time hospital chaplain, serves a United Methodist church in Huntington, West Virginia, and another in Glenwood, about 20 miles northeast of Huntington. After conducting Sunday-morning services at Guyandotte United Methodist, she leads evening worship at Glenwood United Methodist. With fewer than 15 members in June of 2006, the latter congregation was already struggling. Then a fire gutted the sanctuary.
Investigators believed the blaze was the result of arson. But what seemed like a death knell sparked a series of developments that are leading to renewal within this country congregation.Miracles keep coming
All these events have encouraged Pastor Bolling, who has been in her two-church position since June of 2004.
"The congregation at Glenwood has taught me a lot," she says. "They have accepted this tragedy. They're puzzled, confused, and hurt, but they're not angry. They said, 'We've got to pray for whoever did this.'
"It has brought everyone in the church together. It has brought the whole community together."
I have not had to minister to a church that has experienced this kind of tragedy. I have heard good and bad things can come from things like this. The church I attended while in Seminary burned a couple of years after I had been gone. It was arson. It was really a hard time for the church.
We have a church in our district, that burned. It has been a struggle. Then we also have a church in the South West District that burned and seems to be handling things well. Of course we are also notorious for the two young Birmingham Southern (A fine United Methodist College) Students who burned churches in rural areas and have been sentenced this year.
I can only imagine what it is like for these church members and for their Pastor to make their way through after the fire. I would think it is possible, but difficult.
Interestingly enough, I did not find one news item at the UMC.org website nor the West Virginia Conference website about these churches and their Pastor.