Student leadership honored by local congregation

Student leadership honored by local congregation
December 14
03:00 2017

Earlier this year, Peace Haven Baptist Church in Winston-Salem celebrated its 60th anniversary. In addition, the church highlighted its ministry with pastoral assistants who serve at Peace Haven through the Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Art of Ministry program.

The Homecoming weekend events and worship service were attended by many School of Divinity professors, alumni, and current students.

During the homecoming celebration, Peace Haven launched a special emphasis on CARE: Celebrate, Appreciate, Relate and Elevate, describing it as “a celebration of what God has been, is, and will do through Peace Haven Baptist Church.”

Second-year Master of Divinity student Raven Hill currently interns at Peace Haven. “The CARE Campaign attempts to bring the church community together by allowing us to share our stories,” she said. “Celebrating, appreciating, relating, and elevating may be parts of this coordinated campaign; however, these are all qualities that were already present at Peace Haven.”

John Carroll, a 2013 School of Divinity alumnus and former Peace Haven pastoral assistant, led the anniversary worship celebration around ”rekindling the gift,” urging everyone attending to “not settle for the cooled over ashes of cultural acceptance or the safe life of smothered flames.” Rather, he said, “Stir up the gift, rekindle the faith, open yourselves to the fresh winds of the Spirit, for the world is in need of continually stirred up love that will provide warmth and light.”

For Hill, who will complete her internship as a pastoral assistant next year, Peace Haven has provided an inclusive and reconciliatory experience. “Sunday morning is notoriously the most segregated time of the week,” she noted. “Growing up in a traditional Black church and denomination, I did not have many worship experiences with people of a different race. Peace Haven has allowed me a space to worship, to grow, and to experience the unconditional love of God, but most importantly, a chance to interact with white believers. What has resulted are beautiful moments of sharing my experiences while creating new ones.”

Peace Haven Baptist Church’s 60th anniversary and pastoral assistant celebration highlighted the impact the church has had in the community and the role that School of Divinity students have played in the life of the church. This relationship continues to highlight the positive impacts such partnerships can have both for students and for the communities they are a part of.

Nathan Parrish (‘85, MA ‘90) has served as the pastor at Peace Haven since 2002. The School of Divinity began partnering with the church in 2009 and since then 11 divinity students have completed their Art of Ministry internship requirement with the congregation.

“We seek students in their first year who desire a ministry placement in a congregational setting and who want to commit for the totality of their time in the divinity school,” Parrish said. “We have had students for as long as four years serving in our church and have ordained seven students to gospel ministry. All of them continued to serve in vocational ministry.

“From the outset, Peace Haven envisioned this relationship with divinity school students as a ministry of the church,” Parrish continued.

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