The Stewardship of Memory: Recognizing God’s Call

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Uncategorized

By Sarah Stafford

I felt God’s call on my life as a high school student. I didn’t know what it looked like, but I knew I had been called. The only female mentor I had was in my home church; she, of course, was not called a minister, although she was a minister to me and so many. She was the music assistant and organist. There were many twists and turns in my working career: teaching school, attending seminary and serving at three other churches. I was never called a minister in the other three churches I served, but I knew I was ministering to the many children, leaders, parents and senior adults.

On April 25, 2005, I came to serve on the Wilshire staff as music assistant — to coordinate the children’s choirs, coordinate the handbell choirs and to begin a senior adult choir. Shortly after arriving, I attended the ordination of Carolyn Shapard as Wilshire’s minister to adults. I will always remember sitting on the end of one of the center pews and weeping, not believing this was a church who recognized God’s call on women and ordained them into the ministry. I never dreamed that could really happen.

On the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010, I was surrounded for my own ordination by precious friends from three previous churches, family and friends who had supported me through the years. We had a children’s ensemble sing, New Song Community Choir sang, my dearest friend from junior high school days, who is still serving as a missionary in Spain, Susie Frazier Dixon; the children’s minister I served with at Park Cities Baptist, Tommy Sanders; Pastoral Resident Tasha Gibson; Carolyn Shapard, Preston Bright, Paul Skelton, Nelda Williams (she was the children’s minister at my home church, FBC Midland, when I was a 6th grader) and my precious family. It was a day that forever changed my life.

When I was allowed to lead the music in worship, it was an incredible privilege I never took lightly. I knew that if a little girl who attended Wilshire felt God calling her to serve in the ministry of music, at least she had seen one at Wilshire.