It took Marie Edwards longer than expected to reach her pre-determined destination.
As the daughter of a Middletown, OH, minister, Edwards, 40, remembers lining up her Cabbage Patch dolls and stuffed animals as a young girl and “playing church.” She was the preacher; the dolls and animals her congregation.
That was a childhood fantasy.
Now it’s an adult reality.
Edwards was ordained as a minister on Aug. 4, giving her family their fourth pastor. She joins: her father, Pastor Michael Bailey; her grandmother, Elsie Bailey; and her uncle Dwight Bailey. She remembers watching her relatives — and others — preach from the pulpit knowing one day that religious responsibility would be handed to her.
“A weight was lifted off my shoulders and I had this new freedom,” Edwards said about being ordained. “I always knew I was going into the ministry.”
But Edwards, wife of Kee Edwards, a Middletown elementary school principal, and mother of three children, the oldest in college, the youngest in kindergarten, was concerned about her responsibilities at home. Constantly being on-call — the life of a preacher — didn’t fit a mother’s schedule.
“How am I going to be poured into to take care of me when I’m always pouring into other people?” she asked. “That was something that I wrestled with for a long time.”
Two years ago, Edwards, 21st century program director at the Community Building Institute in Middletown, graduated from Kingswell Cohort. It’s a 12-month “intense training” where those who want to live mission in their every day life are trained, said Jeri Lewis, community development, mission and discipleship director at Kingswell.
“This means they want to take what they learn and mix in what they’re called to do by God to serve the community in ways that unify us all,” Lewis explained.
Throughout the training, Lewis and Edwards met twice a month and discussed the mission in Middletown and Edwards’ call to the ministry. They also prayed together and encouraged one another.
“Marie is the perfect example of being the church in our community,” Lewis said. “Her heart for children and families in our community is part of the glue in many areas in our city.”
SOURCE: Rick McCrabb
Dayton Daily News