Meet Sarah Mount Elewononi - South Walpole United Methodist

Meet Sarah Mount Elewononi
Part 5 – Ministry in NEAC
Though I had two short-term appointments before my first
ordination (8 weeks in East Douglas in the summer of 1996 and 8
weeks in Sudbury in the spring of 1998) my first full time appointment
was to Broadway UMC in Lynn, MA. At the time it was one of six
United Methodist congregations in the city that made up the Lynn UM
Cluster. I was excited to begin ministry and loved the parsonage
provided to me there, especially having a washer and dryer that didn’t
require quarters! Broadway was a place for me to learn many things
that were not part of the seminary curriculum, and I came to love many
of the members. I enjoyed visiting the elderly members at their
homes, and working with the children, leading a confirmation class,
and planning joint worship services with the Cluster
and the Lynn Clergy Association. I also began giving
one week a year to leading a group of campers at the
United Methodist Camp Wanakee, in NH.
In the spring of 2000 I was informed that
Bishop Hassinger wanted to appoint me to the
Associate Pastor position of the Old South UMC in
Reading, MA. Old South was a much larger
congregation with a very active youth program, a
teaming Sunday School, well attended adult
education program and many other ministries. I
taught the confirmation class there and did some work with the Boy
and Girl Scouts and started up a youth group for the former Metro
Boston North District
After just two years at Old South I received yet another new
appointment to the Rockport UMC on
Cape Ann. While in Rockport I began
using Seasons of the Spirit to plan worship
and teach Sunday School. We went
through a process of determining the
members’ spiritual gifts and began to
reorganize the leadership structure. I
started a youth group and found ways for
them to connect with other youth on our
district and in our town. I also finally succeeded passing the Board of
Ordained Ministry’s exam and was ordained Elder in Full Connection
in June of 2004. Financial issues forced the Rockport church to go
from full time to half time in my third year there. So I began a
doctoral program in worship and sociology of religion at BU School of
Theology in 2004. When the church dropped down to quarter time the
next year I was appointed to attend school full time.
I stayed in this status for three years,
focusing my energy on my studies and supporting
myself by working as a TA for the introduction to
worship and introduction to preaching classes, and
working at the library in the school of theology. I
also began serving the New England Annual
Conference on the staff of the Local Pastors Licensing School. In the
2005-06 year I lived in an intentional community of other BUSTh
students in Winchester, and then moved
to West Medford.
In 2008, while meeting with my
DS, she offered me a quarter time
appointment in at Wesley UMC,
Medford – just a block from Tufts
University and less than 2 miles from
my home. I was the associate pastor of
this bi-lingual congregation of Korean immigrants and multi-cultural
Americans, mostly serving the non-Korean part of the congregation –
an interesting and challenging appointment.
During all these years I learned a lot about myself, with the
support of a spiritual director, a pastoral councilor and several good
friends. I went on numerous retreats with the Order of St. Luke and
had several opportunities to travel, both to visit my brother’s family in
CA and to go on retreats and conferences. This included several days
at a retreat hosted by the Center for Action and Contemplation in New
Mexico, the Oxford Institute of Methodist studies in England (where I
presented a paper related to my dissertation) and the North American
Academy of Liturgy, which met in Baltimore in 2009. I also trained to
be a coach for Natural Church Development and worked with First
Community UMC in Medford for 2 years.
While itinerate ministry can involve a lot of moving around, I
must say that I sure hope to settle down here in Walpole for quite some