It Takes A Village

by Marijo Swendson

For the first time in over 160 years of ministry, the Grantville United Methodist Church in the Topeka District has sponsored its first candidate of ministry to ordination as an Elder in the Great Plains Conference. Lori Patton was commissioned as a Provisional Elder at the Annual Great Plains Conference in Wichita on June 15, 2018. She graduated with a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on May 11, 2018.

Patton started as an Associate Pastor at Woodlawn UMC in Derby on July 1, 2018. She stated, “I am very excited about my new appointment.  I have been a Chaplain for over a year, it will be refreshing to be back doing local church ministry.” She will also graduate from the clinical pastoral education program at the Wesley Medical Center in Wichita on August 24, 2018.

Patton described her call to ministry at a K-State Wesley Campus Ministry retreat in February 2011. “This moment was when I first realized my life was going to turn out different than I had planned and expected. God turned everything upside and just asked for me to trust and follow, so I did!”

While pursuing a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Business Administration at K-State, Patton took a part-time position as Director of Children’s Ministries at the Junction City First United Methodist Church. After a year and a half, she was promoted to a full-time position as Director of Christian Education. “In this role, I was responsible for the Nursery infants through the High School seniors,” she noted.

After graduating in 2012, she enjoyed traveling to Scotland on a mission trip with her campus ministry team to work in churches along side missionaries and bare witness to God’s work across the globe. All of these events impacted her decision to attend seminary. She stated, “when I look back over my life, I can see sprinklings and hints of my call throughout my life growing up.”

Patton grew up in the Grantville UMC, attending worship services with her family, Sunday school, Teen UMW, Vacation Bible School and youth group. She was baptized in November, 1990 and became a member of the Grantville UMC through confirmation on April 13, 2003.

Her church family showed their support for her decision for her life during a church conference for all members on January 14, 2015. The church conference was called to sponsor Patton as a candidate for ministry to become an ordained Elder in the Great Plains Conference. Each candidate for ministry must have a church sponsor to recommend them for ordained ministry.  District Superintendent Rev. Kay Scarborough lead the meeting. Patton shared her calling to ordained ministry and the beginning of her studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.  All members present voted in favor of sponsoring Patton in her spiritual journey. To support Patton’s studies and to encourage others, the Grantville United Methodist Church has developed a scholarship for students pursuing their studies at seminary.

(Lori Patton is pictured with her family, friends and Pastor Rick at the ordination above)