Kris Schonewolf has been the pastor at Ewell's-St. Paul United Methodist Church in Clayton for four years. The appointment at Ewell's St. Paul marked Schonewolf's first as a member of the ministry. Over the last four years she's become a big part of the Clayton community, finished her Master of Divinity degree, and was recently ordained at the Peninsula-Delaware annual conference of the United Methodist Church.
Schonewolf recently took a few minutes to talk about the ordination process and what she enjoys about being a pastor in Clayton.
Q How does the ordination process work?
A In the Methodist Church, it's a very long and arduous process. To be ordained, first of all you have to have a Master's in Divinity, that's number one. Then in our denomination you have to do a three-year probationary period where you're working as a pastor under observation before you can be ordained. The path of ordination is a long process and it's a process that also involves several oral board examinations, and many written papers have to be submitted and reviewed by a board called the Board of Ordained Ministry. They basically evaluate candidates as they come through the process and they have to make a recommendation that you be ordained before it can go before what's called our annual conference; that's where they actually do the ordination at our annual meeting every June in Princess Anne.
Q What's the difference between now and before you were ordained?
A It doesn't change my job at all. It doesn't really change much of anything except for the fact that I have now been officially recognized by the church as someone who has the gifts and the graces to be a pastor. You're also, when you're ordained, you're taking the vow for life so you're saying that you're going to do this for your whole life so you're not going to quit and do something else; that's what this is about…for life.
Q How did it feel to be ordained?
A It's an amazing feeling because it was such a long process. It was so joyful and also a relief to finally reach the milestone. Honestly, it doesn't change what I do here but it is an official recognition of the church.
Q Is being a pastor what you expected?
A I love it. It's better than what I could even expect because until you do something you don't really know exactly if you're going to like it. But I absolutely love pastoring and I can't imagine doing anything else. Scot McClymont, he's the pastor at Kenton United Methodist Church, he once told me that the worst day pastoring is better than the best day doing something else and I really believe that.
Q What do you enjoy about working in Clayton?
A I love it here. The people are so friendly. They're very passionate about the ministry here and about being a part of God's work in Clayton. We're always in the community and that's really what our passion is, it's to reach our community and let people know that God loves them and to be available for people. We try to do things such as the GriefShare Ministry; we have that as an outreach. We're always out giving things away in the community because it's just a way of showing God's love. The people here have really grasped the vision of loving people in God's name. It's been really fun and we love doing the work and love each other. Our mission here in the church is "Love God. Love People. Serve Others." so we try to do all that. I love being a part of that. I love being able to help set the vision for the church.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.