I have often said that we are a teaching congregation here at First United Methodist Church of Arlington Texas. I have also told our seminary students—and we have four of them—that if you can do it in a large urban church like ours, then you can do it anywhere—and “it” means pastor with faith and integrity. As teachers of those who will become pastors, I want to introduce you to our seminary students.
First, we have Rezolia Johnson, our Perkins intern, who comes to us with her daughters, Caylah (16) and Caisa (13). Rezolia served as youth pastor at Koza Baptist Church in Okinawa, Japan and Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax, Virginia. She also served as Youth Pastor and in administration for several years at the Inspiring Body of Christ Church in Dallas. Prior to and during her ministry in Japan and Virginia, she was a high school teacher.
Rezolia graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science and communications from Prairie View A&M University and is certified in domestic violence training by Genesis Women’s Shelter. Rezolia is presently a candidate for the master of divinity degree at Perkins (SMU).
Another new seminary student this year is Nick Scott. Nick has been working with youth for seven years, the last four of which have been as the FUMC of Arlington director of youth and young adult ministries. He attended Texas A&M University where he received a BA in English. Nick lives in Burleson, where he also grew up, with his beautiful and talented wife, Andi, and his exceptionally handsome 22-month-old son, Kade. Nick is now attending Brite Divinity School at TCU.
Our third seminarian is Blair Lewis, who graduated from Texas A&M in 1994, with a BS in business management. He had a 17-year finance career with Merrill Lynch, ING Financial and Deutsche Bank. Blair has also served on the board of directors for the Fort Worth Day Resource Center for the Homeless. Now he is attending Brite Divinity School pursuing masters of divinity. Blair preaches weekly in our celebration service.
Blair brings his wife, Dawn and daughter, Morgan. Morgan is a competitive swimmer and 5th grader.
Our fourth current seminarian is the farthest along in the ordination process with the Central Texas Annual Conference. Tolli Macalik joined our staff at FUMC of Arlington on 1 August 2012 as our Big Hope director, coordinating the Big Hope ministry for our church. Big Hope, a pilot program provides one-on-one mentoring for at-risk youth, is designed to combine the best practices of two organizations—Big Brothers Big Sisters and KIDS HOPE USA—into one cohesive model specifically designed for the church. Big Hope incorporates one-on-one volunteer mentoring just one hour a week for the upcoming school year.
Tolli lives in Arlington with her husband, Frank, and is retired from AT&T after 33 years to pursue a call to the Christian ministry.
These folks are all high quality human beings and good students. I ask you to not only get to know them as you encourage them in their studies, but to continue in prayer for them—and not just during finals!