Growing in Community: The Promise of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Campaign

2/9/2012

The Rev. Angela Menke Ballou is settling into her new call as the pastor of the Federated Church, Cotuit. Prior to receiving her new call in November, Rev. Ballou served as Associate Pastor at the Second Church of Beverly, MA.   

When asked about her path into the ministry, she reflected on the near-fatal car accident she had suffered while a freshman in college, which demonstrated to her the power of faith and having a spiritual home.   “Ninety people from the church came to be with my family to pray for me the day I almost died. I experienced what it was like to be held in community, and community at its best.” Before becoming a pastor, she worked in Industrial Engineering at Walt Disney World. Her work with Disney involved a great deal of volunteering, and she realized her life outside of work was bringing her the most joy.   “I finally gave into that call that I had heard years earlier.”
Rev. Ballou is a graduate of Iliff School of Theology, Colorado. She said of her time in Colorado, “I had a community of support with who I could be in dialogue. But when I made the decision to leave that community and move to Beverly, I realized that I knew no one in Massachusetts.   So being part of a new clergy group in Beverly was essential for me. I served the Beverly church for six years, and I was in a Clergy Community of Practice the entire time.”  Rev. Ballou continues to be an active participant in a Clergy Community of Practice group.
“We were able to discuss the range of situations that one encounters as a pastor, from the way we welcome new members, to conversations about staff dynamics, to troubleshooting difficult situations. We were able to talk about our own sense of call by God, as well as our understanding of who that is, and what the Church is being called to do now. We would fill our time in prayer, sharing a meal, and doing extended check-ins, all in a safe space. It was, and is, invaluable.”
She said, “The Pastoral Excellence Program allows a church to offer a space for ministers to work together, and it makes us better able to serve our local churches.”  And, she added, “I think that this awareness will also allow our congregants to have a better sense of their role in the wider church, and how this can really give life to us. This is part of the call of what it means to be in community, and it deserves our support.”
Angie Ballou, in recognition of what she has received from the Pastoral Excellence Program, has made a personal gift to the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Endowment Campaign. Her former congregation in Beverly is in the middle of designing a capital campaign, and they are in discernment about how they might be involved in the campaign. And although Ballou has only been at Cotuit for a few months, she hopes to discuss the possibility of a contribution to the campaign with the leadership of the church, as well.


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