Sara Beth Pannell's Faith Statement
Growing up in FBC Greensboro has played an integral part in my journey of faith and my call to ministry. I will never forget the day I was baptized when I was 7 years old, nor will I forget the members of our church who have formed and supported me over the years. Most influential, though, were the opportunities FBC Greensboro provided me so that I could explore my faith and my call more deeply. Speaking in worship on Youth Sunday during my senior year of high school, traveling to Pine Ridge, South Dakota for my first mission trip, and later serving as the Children’s Ministry Intern in 2010 were all formational experiences that continue to shape the Pastor I hope to become.
When I began college at UNC-Chapel Hill, my plan was to major in Biology and eventually go to medical school. At that time, I truly believed God had called me to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Almost five years later, I see now that God’s call in my life has always been the same. It does, however, look much differently than I first imagined. It is now my sincerest hope and prayer that God will use me to make a positive impact in the lives of others through the Church and with the Church.
While at Carolina, I found a spiritual home and place to serve in UNC Wesley, the United Methodist campus ministry. After much prayerful consideration over the past few years, I felt that God was calling me to the United Methodist Church and I am currently seeking ordination as an Elder. I am also part of the Thriving Rural Communities Fellowship at Duke Divinity School, which seeks to prepare future pastors to creatively and passionately serve rural Methodist churches in North Carolina.
In my first year of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program at Duke, I’ve studied Early and Medieval Church History, as well as the Old and New Testament. In addition to those core classes, I’ve chosen to take “Koine Greek” (the language in which the New Testament was written) and “Theology with C.S. Lewis.” Another significant part of the MDiv program is Spiritual Formation class, which is a small group of fellow first-year students who meet once a week to build community, to share our faith journeys, and to engage in various spiritual disciplines.
As I continue through this new chapter of my life at Divinity School and look forward to the next, I often find myself looking back to the FBC Greensboro community and the significant role it has played in bringing me to this point. I am forever grateful for the many ways that FBC Greensboro has shown me how God transforms our lives and uses us to transform the lives of others.