By SARA ARTHURS
The Rev. Laurie Beaty felt called to the ministry at a young age but resisted it, pursuing a 20-year career as an elementary school teacher before working at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Findlay. She was recently ordained as an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church with a banner with the message “Called and Empowered, Offering Christ to the World.”
Beaty has been associate pastor at St. Paul’s since 2012. She started on the church’s staff in 2008 as director of children’s ministry and director of adult ministry. She had previously taught elementary school in the state of Georgia before moving to Ohio in 2008 because of her husband’s job at Cooper Tire.
In the Methodist church it’s possible to apply for a local pastor’s license, which Beaty held from 2012 to 2014. She was commissioned in 2014. After being commissioned, a pastor serves for two provisional years before being fully ordained.
Ordination involves much work and study. A pastor must have a master of divinity degree. Each pastor to be ordained has a mentor and guide who helps them through the process. Beaty had to write theses about doctrinal questions, as well as an autobiography. She had to create a video of a sermon and write a Bible study on a book of the Bible. She interviewed in front of the board of ordained ministry.
Finally came the ceremony. Beaty was one of 18 ordained at a two-hour service at the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church on June 7 in Lakeside, Ohio. She found the experience of being ordained, with the bishop saying words of ordination, to be a “God-centered” time.
“It’s a very holy moment, I will say,” she said.
Church member Miriam Vance was one of a group of volunteers who created a banner to be used in the ordination ceremony. Each ordinand has a banner especially created for him or her that expresses in color, word and symbol the call of God upon their lives for ordained ministry. Vance said the ordination comes at the end of a long process and involves more pomp and ceremony than is usually seen in the United Methodist Church.
Other volunteers working on the canvas banner included Vance’s husband, David, Barb Wieman, Cassie Van Horn, Jole Stevens, Doris Cowgill, Marie Pardi and Linda Winkelman.
Each contributed a different set of skills. Vance is a quilter. Her husband, trained as an engineer, offered mechanical drawing materials including a compass and architect’s square. Another volunteer was a seamstress, and others contributed by cutting out letters to create the words on the banner. All told, they worked on it for about six weeks.
“We love Laurie and appreciate her ministry,” Vance said.
Vance said Beaty is highly important to the church, having remained a constant while the senior pastor has changed twice in the last several years. The Rev. Tom Mellott will soon become senior pastor, succeeding the Rev. Barry Baughman, who succeeded the Rev. Greg Creech.
The center of the banner is an image of a chalice and a cross, on a pink background. It features a loose interpretation of the center symbol in the west stained glass window in the church’s sanctuary.
It is surrounded by words, white letters on a blue background, stating “Called and Empowered, Offering Christ to the World.” A symbol of a shell with a drop of water is at the bottom, along with an image of loaves of bread. The shell and drop of water symbolize the sacrament of baptism. Communion is symbolized by the chalice (sometimes called the Cup of Salvation) and the bread (sometimes called the Bread of Life) seen in the lower right-hand corner. The words “Called and Empowered, Offering Christ to the World” express for Beaty the reason for her call to ministry, who explained every ordinand has a banner unique to their calling. So there were a variety of designs at the June 7 ceremony, with one including trees and another flames.
Beaty’s banner was carried ahead of her in a procession by Kyle Van Horn, a member of the congregation.
Beaty preaches at St. Paul’s about once a month and performs sacraments including baptism, as well as teaching classes.
She said in the United Methodist Church, a pastor can be a licensed local pastor, but that means he or she can only practice sacraments in one specific church. Once ordained, “you serve the world,” she said.
She said John Wesley, co-founder of the Methodist Church, said, “The world is my parish.”
Faith has always been important in Beaty’s life. She was raised in another faith but joined the United Methodist Church, her husband’s lifelong faith, in 1986. “I had sensed a call for many years,” she said, adding she felt called to the ministry even in her college years. But she resisted it.
“I really fought the call,” she said.
She eventually entered seminary and earned her master of divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, graduating in January 2014. She is 50 years old now and said she feels “a sense of heavy responsibility” to lead the church.
By SARA ARTHURS