Friday, September 16, 2011

Uncharted Waters

By Anna Woofenden

September 13th Common Meal 
Annie Glenn: Uncharted Waters

Annie Glenn came to ESR in 2004 as an unprogramed Quaker who was happy to state whenever need be: “I would never be a pastor.” Coming out of a rich variety of vocational experiences as a caseworker, writer and editor and a teacher, she came to ESR as a gift to herself. At age 49 she decided to give herself a 50th birthday present and explore spirituality.  Her ministry goal, “To talk with people in all aspects of life”, or as she candidly admitted, she didn’t know where she was heading.

As Annie shared her story of formation and transformation during her time at ESR she highlighted the process of having everything she knew be broken down and from that place God calling her in her continued ministry. Annie related to Abram and his call and pondered how long between he received his call and struck out and followed it.  In her journey, this call to ministry has landed her right where she thought she’d never be, as a pastor of a programmed meeting. Though she fought this along the way, she’s found clarity of purpose and usefulness as she is actively walking alongside a congregation in their work. 

Annie exhorted us as seminary students to, “Let our lights shine” knowing that God will call us into and out of the work God has for us. She called out for the continued raising up of leaders, particularly in the Quaker community. Leaders who can use their gifts, resolution and guidance within a structure that honors each person’s gifts and purposes.  She ended by sharing, “I don’t think ministry is defined by a job. It is the gifts, the leadership and the calling. What defines me is the gifts that the Spirit of God has given me.” 

Anna Woofenden is a first-year MDiv/MMin student at Earlham School of Religion.  She is a member of the Swedenborgian church and did outreach work for a church in Colorado, as well as for the national office of her denomination, before coming to ESR in January of 2011.

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