Meredith Martin- Called to Extend the Ministry of Christ in Community
July 2, 2015
Meredith Martin is the Director of Programs at Family Services of Davidson County, Inc.. She is appointed there as an extension minister of the Western North Carolina Conference. At Annual Conference in June, she was ordained as a Deacon, and will continue her work with Family Services as an ordained clergy. She is a 2006 graduate of Wake Forest University, received her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2009, and received a Master’s in Social Work from UNC- Chapel Hill in 2011. She served as a Deacon Associate at Wesley Memorial UMC in High Point before working in Davidson County. She is married to Rev. Duncan Martin, who serves Ebenezer and Reeds UMC’s in Lexington. They have two-year old twin daughters, Ginny and Kate. Below is a conversation that will help you learn more about Meredith and her ministry: Tell me about your call to the ministry of a deacon…when did you hear it? How did you know that was a right fit? Throughout my call experience I have consistently heard a call from both the church and God to connect the church with the world. I am grateful for our denomination supporting an order of ministers in this important work. My passions for justice and mercy have always defined my life as a Christian and thus I knew when I was being raised up as a leader in our church that the Order of Deacons would be the right fit. You are working as a clergy of the church in a county agency…have you been received well? Does it ever feel odd? I am currently appointed to a nonprofit agency called Family Services of Davidson County, Inc. (we are not the county/government DSS). Our agency works with people in our community who are experiencing challenges in their lives due to mental health problems, involvement in the criminal justice system, domestic violence and/or sexual assault and related risk factors. Our staff and board of directors have been very open to me having dual training and vocation as a social worker and a clergyperson. I have been able to use my training as a clergyperson in a variety of ways to support our clients and agency. While it is important that I respect ethical boundaries as our agency is formally a secular agency, our community values the faith community significantly and I have been able to incorporate my divinity school training, when appropriate. How does this job connect with your commitment to a local church? Through this job I am able to support many local churches of all denominations in our community. Through my work I connect with local churches to provide volunteer opportunities for churches, training for clergy and their congregations, community presentations, and I also do some consulting with pastors and other faith leaders on issues they are facing in their churches and how to appropriately handle them. Currently, I am doing a lot of training for faith leaders on how to respond when persons in their communities share they are experiencing domestic violence. I am also a certified trainer in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid, two nationally recognized trainings for persons who want to be better responders to mental health emergencies in their communities. I would invite the opportunity to share my expertise in either of these areas with other local churches in the connection. I have a secondary appointment to my local charge as well which allows me to stay involved with worship, teaching and other ministry duties. What does being received as a clergy member in full connection mean to you? I am honored and humbled. It is hard to believe I am officially a member in full connection! The process is long and, at times, challenging but I am very grateful for my call and the church’s confirmation of it through ordination. I look forward to continuing to offer my gifts to the church and am grateful for the other deacons, elders and lay persons who have supported me along the way. I believe that the order of deacons has a responsibility to help keep the church responsive to our communities and I hope that my ministry will support many churches in succeeding in this important work. How do you see yourself working as a deacon in the church in the future? I am open to where the Holy Spirit calls me. So, while I am comfortable and feeling effective in my ministry in a local nonprofit I have certainly not crossed off the possibility of working for a local church again one day. You can contact Meredith at email@example.com or 336-249-0237.