Acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as sole Head of the Church and a passion for the oneness of the body of Christ.

  • Acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as sole Head of the Church.
  • A passion for the oneness of the body of Christ as expressed through commitment to ecumenism, justice, and the full embrace of all persons in the radical hospitality of God.

“The United Church of Christ affirms its belief in God, the Eternal Spirit, and acknowledges as its sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior.”

As a member of the United Church of Christ, and now in my journey toward ordained ministry, I have heard this statement repeatedly and I fully believe and accept it. However, it was not until my class on UCC History and Polity that I truly began to ponder the full meaning of it. Just how can I acknowledge my full belief in the notion that Jesus is the sole head of the Church? For me it is simple and based on scripture. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells a story and while we know that he gave us many parables and stories, this one not only tells me how I am to acknowledge him but also how I am to embrace every person in God’s unending hospitality and love. In Matthew 25, Jesus calls us to go out to the hungry to bring them food, to clothe the ones who are naked, to bring and care for the ones who fall ill, and to bring love and care to those who are imprisoned. I strive be like Christ in showing and doing these things to the least of my brothers and sisters, and in this way, fully acknowledge him as not only the head of the church but more important, the head of my life and ministry.

Christ showed his love to everyone no matter of race, gender, economic status, or even religious beliefs and asked me to do the same. In my acceptance, love, and radical welcome to everyone no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey, I show how I fully believe and acknowledge Jesus Christ as the sole head of the Church. My life and actions are to be a mirror of that of Jesus’ life and work.

The summer of 2014, between my second and third year at Candler School of Theology, I began my training as a Chaplain Intern at Grady Memorial Hospital. After graduating from Candler in May of 2015, I worked as a Chaplain resident at Emory University Saint Joseph’s Hospital. In both of my roles as Chaplain intern and resident, I have fully welcomed people of different race, gender, economic status, religious beliefs, political status, and sexual orientation. It has been my honor to learn about other religious beliefs while in my role as a spiritual health provider. The people I served taught me about their beliefs and practices, from daily rituals to burial. My role as a spiritual health provider has opened many doors for me to offer the full accepting love of God to others and my life has been deeply enriched.

My chaplain opportunities have allowed me to understand the words of St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul reminds us that we are all the body of Christ. Each of us brings something exciting and wonderful to this one body. I have witnessed this repeatedly in the vast diversity of individuals that have crossed my daily path while in my work as a chaplain. Yet I would not even stop there. Over my life as a Master Barber, my life has been full opportunities to meet new and exciting individuals and to minister to them. The many parts of this magnificent body of Christ are just like the colors of the rainbow. Not one color is more amazing than another. They just are and that is the beauty of it. God does not see anyone as outshining another, and nor do I. I am to simply offer all the different body parts my love and acceptance just as God does.

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