Bill talks with Christine Hides, director of Christian education, about her background, children and family ministry, and the exciting new Advent kits.
Bill: Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg, and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church. And this is Doogie, my assistant minister. And I’m so glad to have Christine Hides with me today, the Reverend Christine Hides. You are our director of children’s ministries, Christine, is that correct?
Christine: I think my official title is director of Christian education, but I lead children’s ministries.
Bill: How long have you been working for Kenilworth Union?
Christine: Just over two years.
Bill: So what do you do for the church?
Christine: So I lead ministries with children ages zero to twelve, and their families. Day-to-day that looks like preparing the Sunday school lessons and videos for Sunday mornings, and then also resourcing parents using our weekly newsletter, and then lots of special events like our Christmas pageant and Vacation Bible School.
Bill: Fascinating work. How did you get involved in this kind of thing? Another way of asking that question is, what’s your call to the ministry?
Christine: Sure. It’s a little bit of a long story, but I’ll make it short. I was one that I heard God’s call probably throughout my life, but I didn’t know quite what it was until much later. What had happened was we were very active in our local congregation, and a friend invited me to a Bible study at a different congregation, and through that Bible study, they asked if I would like to apply for their director of Christian education job, and I did, and then the congregation noticed that I had some gifts and skills and that started me on the path to seminary.
I eventually met a deacon, which I didn’t even know deacons existed in the United Methodist Church, and then I said “That’s who I am. I’m a deacon.”
Bill: I want to come back to that in a minute. What kind of undergraduate and graduate educations prepared you to do the work you’re doing for Kenilworth Union?
Christine: Sure. So I went to Northwestern for undergrad, which is where I met my husband Brian—go Wildcats—and then I returned a couple years later to get my master’s degree in education. And so I was a teacher early in my career, in fact I was a student teacher at Hubbard Woods just down the road. And then I went to Garrett Seminary for my theological studies.
Bill: That’s so dangerously educated you are. So, Christine, my ordination is Presbyterian church, and the Presbyterian Church “deacon” means something very different to what it means in the Methodist tradition. I’ve been fascinated to try to follow your process. Tell us a little bit about that and where you are in the process.
Christine: The main difference between Presbyterians and United Methodist is that deacons are clergy in the United Methodist Church, we go through the same process as elders, and we like to say we have a distinct call to ministries of justice and compassion. Both elders and deacons share a call to word and service. I am licensed clergy, I’m provisional, and I’m in a two-year residency program right now and then hopefully I will be ordained in 2021.
Bill: And if they credential your ministry and you do get ordained to preach the word, marry the lovers, baptize the babies, and serve the sacrament, right?
Christine: Deacons traditionally don’t serve the sacraments, but we do marry people and also conduct funerals and preach and are very active in worship leadership.
Bill: Fabulous. So what have you got in your lap, Christine?
Christine: I feel like a television infomercial. Advent is coming up and children’s ministry has been trying to be very intentionally high-touch and high-tech. We know that families are a little bit screened out right now so we have Advent kits with four activities, one for each week of Advent. You can join us online each week of Advent on Sundays, or you can do them at your own pace, but we hope that they’re engaging and help you find hope, peace, love, and joy throughout Advent. They’re available for order at kuc.org. Advent kit.
Bill: It’s the only infomercial I’d ever bite on. Very exciting. Thank you for being so creative. I’ve been watching over your shoulder.
Christine is our technical genius on staff. She amazes me sometimes, so Christine thanks for all you’re doing, not only technically but in loving our families, especially the little ones. God bless you and your ordination process. And God bless you all.
By the way, one last thing. It’s Doogie’s birthday today! Doogie’s first birthday. So happy birthday, Doogie.
Christine: Happy birthday, Doogie!