Rev. Steve Garcia was ordained on Nov 1, 2020, at First Congregational Church. Located in Midtown (Memphis), First Congregational is part of the St. Louis Association of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ.
“I am currently on staff at First Congregational (First Congo) as the Director of Christian Education. As the staff liaison for our age-level programs, my emphasis is on our Children and Youth curricula and activities, as well as our Sunday morning Adult Forum. My plans are to continue embracing the people and ministries of this church.
As a “Just Peace” church, First Congo’s mission is to engage in and lead ministries that address the social justice issues that plague our society. Employing a strong sense of radical hospitality, First Congo has long-standing relationships with many other organizations who welcome the stranger and bring hope and nourishment to the poor and marginalized. Knowing that we hold varying theological and political beliefs and come from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, First Congo is also an “Open and Affirming” congregation that celebrates and finds strength in diversity, and views it as a way to practice the inclusiveness of God. For these reasons, I am called to live out, and live into, my ministry at First Congo – knowing that as the body of Christ, we are called “to love one another, to do justice, to bring release to the oppressed and to walk humbly with God.”
I attended Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS) because of its commitment to scholarship, piety, and justice. I wanted to learn with and among a body of believers who knew how to put faith into action, who would teach me how to do meaningful exegesis work, and would challenge me to figure out how it could be best applied in my ministry to the communities I serve. I wanted to learn how to provide pastoral care in a variety of settings and circumstances. Most importantly, through all this, I wanted to experience God in new and profound ways. I found all this, and more, at MTS.
At MTS, I was gifted with the wonders, spiritual nourishment, responsibility, and accountability that comes with community. I learned how to discern God’s call on my life, and was given the confidence and encouragement I needed to respond to that call. I learned that ministry is not always easy, but necessary to achieve a needed sense of peace and redemption in the world. And I learned that with ministry comes great joy. With the relationships we form and nurture come opportunities to learn more about our capacity to heal and grow as communities, in ways that are inclusive and life affirming.
Thank you, MTS, for being a source of great inspiration and influence to both me and our community. Thank you for preparing me for the wonders and mysteries – along with the challenges and opportunities – that lie ahead.”
-Rev. Steve Garcia