Good Morning! You may hear me say that at odd times of the day. It's not because I just woke up or took a nap. It's because scripture says that God's mercies are new every morning. I like that! Some days, I need god's mercy all day long! So, good morning!
I'm Jena Finch-Manchester, your new pastor at Anthon United Methodist Church. I have been in ministry my entire life. I grew up chasing Cheerios under the pews to share them with other friends. When I was 18 or 19 years old, I had a vision of me preaching in our church. That vision freaked me out! I wanted to get married, have 2 or 3 children, a big house with a white, picket fence and a dog. I wanted the American dream. I wanted to be lord of my life and call the shots. I achieved all of that and much more.
Please know that I did not turn my back on God. On the contrary, I went to church faithfully, even led the children's programs, cooked for the men's group, then led a Bible study, women's retreats, and special trips to conferences. Each time, I would ask God if that was enough. I heard, "No, I want all of you." Then I would see that vision again. Yikes! It took quite a while for me to figure out what that meant. It was a huge leap of faith to step into the formal ministry, to discern my calling and pursue seminary. I had to figure out what it meant to follow God fully. Keep in mind that I had a husband, 2 sons, a wonderful career, climbed the corporate ladder and was met with great success. I had to prioritize in order to be available to God for God's work, but I wasn't ready to let go of my secular work. My family was behind me and the struggle was real.
Once I said "Yes" to God, all kinds of doors opened up for me. I was appointed to serve as Associate Pastor for 4 small churches, even before I went to seminary! I was still clinging to my secular jog because my schedule was quite flexible. I worked college classes and seminary into my schedule,too. It was only be the grace of God that it all came together! I began to realize that amazing things happen when you trust God.
I served 2 small churches as I finished seminary so that I could understand what I meant to be a solo pastor. That was a great experience! After seminary, i was appointed to serve full time and worked to be ordained. I completed that work and am an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.
I look forward to getting to know you and journeying with you. My goal is to be a blessing to you and an instrument of God. Anthon UMC has to much to offer to our community and it will be exciting to see where God leads us! God be with you until we meet again.