When did you discern that you were called to be a pastor?
I never dreamed that I’d be a pastor – I never saw a female pastor until I was in my twenties! Public speaking also made this bookish kid very, very nervous. After college, I was attending a small church in Florida while trying to figure out my career. My pastor asked if I’d preach one Sunday when she was out of town. I agonized over it, but several members affirmed that day that they thought I might be called to ordained ministry. I went to Duke Divinity School in 2008, thinking that I’d clear my conscience and discover that I was the most un-called person on earth. On the first week of classes, I saw our Divinity School chaplain serve Communion and thought, “Wow, I feel called to do that.” When I was serving my first field education placement, I called a friend to talk it all over. “I just don’t know,” I kept saying, and she corrected me. “Christina, I think you DO know.” I’m grateful for everyone who helped me accept my call. If you feel like you might have a call to any kind of ministry, I would love to talk to you about it!
What is your favorite part of being a pastor?
Free food? Just kidding. (Maybe.) I love so many things about being a pastor – it’s hard to choose just one! I love nerding out over details of studying a Scripture. I love preaching, especially when people make connections between the Bible and their own lives. I love holding the hand and praying with a beloved child of God, whether in church, in a home, or in the hospital. I love seeing folks who didn’t see themselves as “ministers” step up and discover their gifts in the church! I LOVE doing children’s sermons and being goofy while sharing a story about the upside-down kingdom of God. But maybe my favorite part of being a pastor is serving at the Lord’s Table. Something about looking others in the eye and offering them the body and blood of Christ moves me every time.
Why did you want to join the staff at Wrightsville UMC?
I joke that I’m “suffering for Jesus” at the beach because somebody’s gotta do it! Seriously, the best part about serving at Wrightsville UMC is not the location; it’s the people. The other staff members are both talented, dedicated, humble, and loving. And you’re not supposed to brag, but I’m so proud to be part of a church who holds each other close across lines of difference and is committed to loving God and each other well.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Oh, man. My background before divinity school was English and creative writing, and I love to read anything from cozy mystery novels to presidential biographies to literary fiction. I love shows and movies where people talk fast (Hamilton, The Good Place, The West Wing, to name a few). I love to thrift shop, cross-stitch, and hike. Someday I’m hoping to finish the novel project I worked on for my master’s thesis, but right now my energy is dedicated to cooking my way through Chrissy Teigen’s two cookbooks (I’m calling it my Chrissy & Christina Project), which makes for a more delicious hobby!
Do you have family?
I love living in downtown Wilmington’s historic district with my cat Finn (Finnick). My family is from wild, wonderful West Virginia, and my mom Lynda (a retired nursing professor at Marshall University) and brother Paul (a graduate student and librarian) still live in Huntington. I’m also lucky to have so many friends near and far who are like family – from spending holidays together when we can’t get home to having TV watch parties to sending countless group texts. We’re all in this together!