Greetings to you all in this New Year!
I am excited to “officially” be a part of the Bethlehem family beginning this month, January 2018. In many ways, I already feel a part of this church because of the friendships I have made and the partnership I’ve had in ministry with you all already.
For those who haven’t met me yet, here is a little bit of background for you…
My name is Susan and I am a provisional deacon in the Virginia UM Annual Conference, still working to-ward ordination. But I wasn’t always a minister! I began my career after Virginia Tech (go Hokies!) as an engineer in the defense industry around Washington, DC. Working in this field was quite fun, but as my family began to grow, I was drawn to become a stay-at-home mother which I did for about 20 years. I am the proud mother of four kids (three girls and a boy) who are now grown. My “baby” is still at VT and lives with me here in Westlake when he is out of school. I am savoring that while I can!
About ten years ago while taking a class called “Companions in Christ”, I fell in love with God in a new way. Of course it is a long story and a bumpy road, but it led me to seek and learn, which led me to seminary and ultimately to claiming this call to ministry. Going back to college while my children were doing the same was great fun! This time for me there were laptops and internet – a new college experience. At the end of seminary, I had an immersion experience, a two-week journey into a different culture to learn about ministry in a new perspective. My trip was to Rising Hope Mission Church in Northern VA, a church predominantly made up of homeless persons. This was a very formative experience for me and solidified my understanding of my call to ministry as being a connector between the church and the poor.
My work as a Minister of Community Outreach has been with those who are struggling in many ways. I have served in many outreach ministries including being a facilitator for Getting Ahead classes (you have those here on Wonderful Wednesdays) and serving as a ministry and group leader in Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step Christ-centered program for people who are struggling with addiction and other challenges. Worship and mu-sic fill me up and being a part of worship with Bethlehem will be grand!
But beyond all of these things, I think the best way to describe me is that I love people. Just about every-one. I enjoy meeting new people, telling stories, and most importantly, listening and learning about others. I look forward to being blessed by learning and getting to know you as we now journey together on this path of discipleship… being part of God’s kingdom work in this world as agents of love and care.
Peace be with you now and always!
Rev. Susan Hughes
Minister of Community Outreach
REDWOOD United Methodist Church
3001 Old Franklin Turnpike, Rocky Mount, VA 24151