engaging sacred stories
Maturing in effective proclamation and preaching.
I have been fortunate to have many opportunities over many years to preach at a diverse spectrum of churches, theologically and in size. In recent years this has guided me in developing a distinct style and methodology for my preaching. I use an outline of my key points and elaborate from there. I have found this to be a way to be open to the Holy Spirit's guidance in sharing what the congregation needs to hear. I also find it a powerful way to make a connection with all in the space by being able to make and maintain eye contact so that the message seems intended for them.
In nearly 40 years of ordained ministry my Dad has never missed a Sunday due to illness. However, the summer between my high school graduation and my Freshmen year of college, there was a knock on my bedroom door at 6:30am and my Dad needed my help. He handed me his sermon and I went out to our church and led both worship services. When members of my home church thanked me for stepping in many also shared that they saw me as called to be a pastor.
I have the honor of guest preaching at churches across our conference so I can learn about the different traditions and passions of different congregations in the SWC
At Desert Palm I preach every six weeks and help Pastor Tom lead worship (virtually during pandemic)
I have guest preached and led worship at a wide spectrum of UCC and UMC congregations in California, Arizona, and Missouri, which has prepared me for pastoral ministry with churches of different sizes and with different traditions
I was a State Champion in Public Speaking my Freshman year of high school
Speaking at a General Board of Church and Society meeting in Washington, D.C.
Speaking at a rally demanding full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the United Methodist Church
Preaching at my high school baccalaureate worship service
Speaking with my best friend Amanda at our high school graduation
Bringing life to sacred stories and traditions in worship, proclamation, and witness.
Through my ministry at ASU I am constantly discovering new ways to engage others in our worship traditions.
In my preparation for our worship and small groups I study many resources for contextual and theological grounding
(Exhibiting knowledge, understanding, and continuing study of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament).
My Undergraduate major was in Philosophy with additional advanced study in Creative Writing, English, and Religion which helps me with sermon preparation and creation.
Rockhurst University where I majored in Philosophy and took advanced coursework in the history of the Christian Church
(Understanding the history of the Christian Church, from biblical times forward.)
History wall I created in the Narthex of Christ Church by the Sea to celebrate the history of our local congregation as we visioned together for our future
I write to express my strong and unwavering support of Andrew as he goes through the member in discernment process for the United Church of Christ. As a member of Desert Palm United Church of Christ, I have had the opportunity to listen and learn from Andrew when he preached to the congregation (before the pandemic) and this past year through our virtual services. I greatly appreciate Andrew’s messages – they help me feel very spiritually grounded. He’s relevant, not “preachy” and emanates positivity in all in words and deeds.
I’ve also have had the chance to work with Andrew on the ASU Campus Ministry committee this past year. I have been so impressed by what he has been able to accomplish to date, especially when the pandemic has greatly restricted on-campus gatherings and activities. This initiative is rather daunting, yet Andrew has demonstrated great skill in navigating the administration of ASU, the Council of Religious Advisors, the Southwest Conference, and the local church to start the ministry. He builds bridges and finds talented contributors and is demonstrating strong administrative skills in addition to the substantive responsibilities required in a campus ministry. His energy and forward looking mindset do not seem to know any bounds. The students that are joining the campus ministry and staying and participating. He will be a terrifically successful pastor in whatever pastoral setting he chooses.
Cindy Jewett, J.D.
Member of Desert Palm Campus Ministry Committee
A time of worship and meditation I created and led for the leadership retreat at First Congregational Church of Long Beach
The annual Easter Sunrise worship service at Christ Church by the Sea I helped organize and promote
Combined church worship I organized for United Methodist youth from across Orange County
Leading faith formation effectively across generations.
My calling is grounded in the ministry of the local church and is boldly intergenerational. I served in ministry across the spectrum of ages and generations, from youth faith formation programs to theological studies for senior adults.
I am working with Desert Palm UCC on an intergenerational vision and faith formation programs in which we use the same scripture and themes each week across worship, children's Sunday school, youth programs, and campus ministry.
As a part of this I also offer intergenerational faith formation and prayer moments in our worship.
Logos I created for my intergenerational ministry with children, youth, and families at Desert Palm
Community UMC of Huntington Beach Youth Room that I designed and managed renovation of
"Is this thing on," leading the worship at Vacation Bible School at First UMC of Pasadena
Ashton and I participating in Trunk or Treat at Christ Church by the Sea in Newport Beach
Desert Palm youth and I visiting First Congregational Church of Flagstaff
Seniors participating in our Mission Newport Sunday I helped organize at Christ Church by the Sea in Newport Beach
Holding the Holy with with integrity especially as represented in the Sacraments.
My freshman year of college was at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. I was fortunate to be hired on to work as the Sacristan for the college chapel, which hosted worship every day. Since St. Olaf is an ELCA college they observe communion every Sunday. As the Sacristan I organized all the sacraments in the life of the church. It was a joy and honor to organize and lead the most sacred and traditional aspects of worship.
In my own faith life I am very drawn to the traditional expressions of worship and am eager to share these traditions, especially with rising generations. I find this to be an exciting time to offer traditions in an inclusive way as many people who have a faith background have only know the contemporary mega-church model of worship as it has been so prevalent in their lifetimes. Our inclusivity, theology, and our worship are inspiring and refreshing to many.
St. Olaf College chapel
I believe Andrew Ponder Williams represents the future for American churches. He is young, enthusiastic and, as the Administrative team of our church appreciated, is wonderfully creative in outreach and technical skills. He has spoken from the pulpit and is definitely a Pastor in the making. He and his husband will provide an opening for many who have been kept away from our church doors. I would love to attend a church where he is the Pastor.
Lynne Lightner (age 81)
Christ Church By The Sea