and intra- personal assets
Developing and maintaining a healthy sense of self as shaped by God, community, and life experiences.
My ministry and exploration of call has led me to study at the base of mountains and serve a community on the shore. Although I was unable to fully answer my call in the United Methodist Church due to its inability to embrace LGBTQ persons, I was able to serve and grow through many meaningful capacities that have prepared me for my life as a pastor. There have been many moments of empowerment I bring with me for my ministerial journey in the UCC. From leading the UMC General Conference Committee on LGBTQ inclusion to advocacy on Capitol Hill, the United Nations, and Hawaii I have been shaped and inspired for a life of ministry. Thanks be to God!
Moving for our next ministry adventure
Kindergarten school picture
Beginning my life and ministry out west
My Rav4 all packed for my move to California for Seminary and new ministry
My favorite window at Christ Church by the Sea that reminds me that Christ holds us near his heart throughout our lives
Exhibiting strong moral character and personal integrity.
I am discovering that my spiritual journey is increasingly about embodying the boundless possibilities of a life of integrity and ministry. Recently while meeting with an ASU student on Zoom, a student who also identifies as LGBTQ, shared with me that although they had been active in progressive churches for many years and out about who they are for nearly 10 years they had never met an openly LGBTQ and married person who was working towards becoming a pastor. It is a joy for me to discover daily new ways in which God is breathing life into the journeys of others simply through my commitment to living out my call.
I believe that integrity is essential to all who serve in ministry. A major reason I am making a home in the UCC is that it is a space that values integrity and that honors our true selves. So many denominations expect ministers to hide aspects of who we are. How are we to minister to a hurting world in need of purpose and inspiration if we ourselves do not center on integrity?
(Living in relationships of covenantal accountability with God and the Church)
A thought I found scribbled on a mirror in a restaurant:
"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice"
An activity I put together at First UMC of Pasadena to help us break down the walls that divide
Respecting the dignity of all God's people.
I honor the dignity of all God's people for in all my ministry I have sought to create space for the unheard and disregarded, from international students lacking support at universities to LGBTQ youth who need a safe refuge from bullying at school.
International students I took on a trip to Palm Springs
Creating space for students who are trans and gender non-conforming at an LGBTQ faith gathering in Washington, D.C.
It has been a joy working with Andrew at Desert Palm UCC, where he runs our youth ministry and our UCC at ASU young adult/campus outreach ministry. I can truly say Andrew's lifelong calling and exceptional gifts for ministry (adding to the impressive work history he's already managed to accrue) are all blossoming in ways we never could have imagined. Not only are his ministries flourishing, but his technical know-how, calm and peaceful demeanor and warm pastoral presence have helped Desert Palm cope with the challenges of the pandemic. I can't imagine having to do what we've done without having Andrew on staff. I see his gifts and experience God's call on his life on a daily basis and consider it an honor to be part of his unfolding story.
Pastor Tom Martinez
Desert Palm UCC
Understanding and ministering to stages of human development across the life span.
I have ministered to persons across the life span throughout my call to ministry through serving as a Campus Minister, Children's Minister, Youth Minister, Church Administrator, and Church Consultant.
I have also consoled grieving families and supported clergy on planning approximately 50 memorial services and celebrations of life at various congregations amidst varying circumstances.
Beach Day with my former Community UMC of Huntington Beach youth group
Beach Retreat with my former UCI students
“Through our church’s work with Andrew Ponder Williams, we witnessed the marks of one called to ministry. His leadership and creativity helped us envision a future for the faith formation ministries of our congregation. Andrew connects and communicates effectively with people of all ages, and his deep personal faith is expressed in all he does.”
Rev. Mary Sue Brookshire
Pioneer Ocean View UCC of San Diego
Demonstrating excellent communication skills.
Have created the branding and marketing for six local churches
Built and managed (and trained others in managing) websites for nine churches and faith-based organizations, and a website and branding and marketing for one large healthcare nonprofit
Completed a course in non-profit marketing and fundraising at the Center for Non-Profit Management of Los Angeles
Completed a course in non-profit communication through the Loyola Marymount University extension program
Completed a course on email marketing and communications (Constant Contact) through the Small Business Administration
In high school had an internship at Kansas City Public Television (KCPT)
In college had an internship at the Hallmark Cards Corporate Headquarters focused on communication and innovation
Have been fortunate to work with many churches and nonprofits on effective communication
Am committed in my ministry to ensuring that I communicate directly, clearly, and respectfully