Stephanie Price is a young mother and United Methodist pastor who believes churches should promote physical health alongside spiritual fitness. Price has developed a program that links local farmers to churches in their communities.
(Locator: near Denver, CO.)
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "The best part about being a pastor is definitely the walk we take with people, no matter where they are or what they're going through. I feel like the job of the pastor is to walk alongside and just to keep whispering, 'You can do it, you can do it,' to become that person that God's created you to be and to know that you're not alone."
Stephanie Price graduated from college with a degree in psychology and was on her way to a career in counseling.
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "My first job was at a downtown Denver youth shelter. All of the teens that were coming in kept asking these really spiritual questions. So they were getting their primary needs met, of shelter and feeling safe and food. And the first thing that they wanted to know from the counselors were things of a spiritual nature. I really wanted to be able to provide for them in a tangible and in a really real way that inner sense I had of feeling safe and loved by God."
Price felt a call to ministry and enrolled at the Iliff School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary.
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "I actually specialized in pastoral care. I really wanted to be more in that caregiving role. And then as soon as I graduated from seminary it turned out that all my gifts were fairly public gifts. So I probably should have stuck to the preaching classes."
At the age of 32,the Rev.Stephanie Price is serving her second church, as an associate pastor at Hope United Methodist in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
(Price preaches) "What would it be that would motivate us to do what the disciples are doing in this story?"
She is also the Peace with Justice coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Conference where she's launched a program to form co-ops between churches and local farmers.
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "What my goal really is to make Peace with Justice relevant and tangible on something that doesn't scare people away but to really engage them in a dialogue about how can we work together. The second is to really empower churches to move past charity into more of this area of systemic change. It's really easy for churches to get into this pattern of charitable giving, where they're giving money for other people to do good things far away or even maybe a food bank in their town. This cooperative model really addresses a deeper issue of kind of challenging that idea that Jesus says we're all equal and that we're all worth something. And the cooperative model addresses that and the fact that it gives everybody a voice."
Through the co-ops, growers could sell their harvests in church parking lots.
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "It's not necessarily about bringing people into the building, but it's about actually being the church. We're building a bridge. We're closing that gap between people that are outside of our walls and the people that are within them."
Young clergy bring fresh ideas to ministry. Stephanie Price is thankful that she found a place to call home in The United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Stephanie Price: "For me scripture comes alive in the way it connects with the struggles and obstacles that we're facing today. I love the 'call' stories. I love seeing how all the prophets think that they're not old enough or they're not articulate enough. And God says, 'Tough luck, you're coming anyway.'"
Originally posted: May 20, 2013