by C. Mark Batten, Office of Communications
After graduation in 2015, Courtney Stamey began a two-year pastoral residency at First Baptist Church Greensboro in Greensboro, NC. The transition-into-ministry program immerses religious leaders like Stamey in congregational and community ministries to develop their pastoral identities.
Stamey’s residency is shared with Peacehaven Community Farm, a sustainable farm and affordable housing community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Having had one foot in the church and one foot at the farm exemplifies the growing diversity in ministry that matches the diversity of the world,” Stamey said. “The residency embodies working across divides. Speaking to pressing social issues that affects our livelihood is no longer a social choice, but a pastoral obligation.”
Stamey’s residency is supervised by Rev. Alan Sherouse (MDiv ’05), senior pastor at First Baptist Church Greensboro. As her supervisor, Sherouse meets regularly with Stamey. At one meeting earlier this year, Stamey discussed a sermon she had preached for Pentecost at a local retirement community, where many First Baptist members live. Sherouse suggested she enter it for a preaching contest organized by “A Sermon for Every Sunday.”
“A Sermon for Every Sunday” is a ministry that provides video recordings of lectionary-based sermons online, free of charge, so that churches that may not have a full-time minister or need a supply preacher as well as other worshipping communities can use them in communal worship or discipleship events. Preachers have included Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), and Amy Butler, acclaimed speaker, writer, and senior minister at New York City’s Riverside Church.
After submitting a video recording of her sermon based on Acts 2, “What Did You Say?,” Stamey was notified that her sermon won the preaching contest because of her faithfulness to the text, use of vivid illustrations, and overall clarity.
“Resources like ‘A Sermon for Every Sunday’ allow for retirement communities, like where I preached, to have access to great preaching,” Stamey said. “Given the list of tremendous preachers that preach for them regularly, this was a tremendous opportunity and unique experience for me as a young minister.”