By Jeanie Summerville
What’s up, babies?
You know that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it’s supposedly a day to show, reveal and shower your loved one’s heart with love and I hope that all of you are pleased with your day and enjoy it immensely. On that note, a church here in our fair city, starts showing their congregation hearts with love ahead of time on a designated special Sunday. This week’s spotlight is going to share it with you along with the other ways in which they show love all year long. But before that, you’ll learn a little bit about the pastor and her background because when you know where she’s been, you’ll have an idea of where she’s going. So at this time all we’d like for you to do is as always, feel the love:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Pastor Karen Staton and I’m the pastor of Destiny Life Center that’s located at 3601 Warsaw St. I was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., where my mother’s family lived. She came from a big family and was the oldest of 11 children and so, we had lots of family and cousins that were all business minded people and I grew up in typical upper-middle class family. My father was a pastor and always worked two jobs and my mother was a factory worker and they migrated to Buffalo from Alabama to get us as close to Canada as they possibly could because Buffalo is only 10 miles from the Canadian border.
“Growing up, I had a great sense of responsibility and so I was a very responsible child. But I was also a child, who always questioned things because I didn’t take things at face value, I had to know and have the facts behind it, so I was an inquisitive child. And, with this business of Christianity, I didn’t embrace it right away. I started to dabble and look into other kinds of religious thought. But, I lived in Buffalo until I was a junior in high school and then my father took over a church in Indianapolis, Ind., and I actually graduated in Indianapolis and then I left there, went to Our Church College, which was a part of The Church of God out of Anderson, Indiana. While attending college is when I particularly put Christianity to the test to know, that it was the real deal, for me. However, I wasn’t going to do anything with it but just try to live it.
“Then my father took over a church here in Fort Wayne and I’d visit here quite often and at that time, I also had gotten married and was living in Virginia. Then my marriage didn’t go so well because I got married so young and I married a man that really challenged my belief because he had a disorder. When you’re married to someone that has a disorder, you don’t know and realize that when you’re young and there are a lot of things that you need to look for. So, that really challenged me and I needed some help so I said, ‘Lord if you don’t help me, I don’t know how I’m going to make it through.’ That’s when I really began to put my faith to the test and began to really get the supernatural help and the power that I needed to continue living.
“We didn’t stay together but it really helped me to know that Jesus is real because of the way He was manifesting and revealing Himself to me in my daily life and helping me to maintain with my two children. So, I came back to Fort Wayne to so call, lick my wounds with my two children and I found Fort Wayne to be a very friendly place and a good place to settle down for a while, I’ve been here since 1986.
“Having grown up in a home where my father was a pastor and being married to a pastor, it seems as though I’ve been a pastor for a long time but officially, I’ve only been a pastor since July 13, 2015. But, I’ve always done the work and the ministry of being a pastor for quite sometime by mentoring and nurturing people. And, I really didn’t sense, the call to pastor until maybe 2011 and it wasn’t until 2013 that I accepted it. So it took me two years to process it to know that, God was really calling me since I didn’t think, I could be the one He was calling because first of all, I’m a woman and I’m thinking that wasn’t even my image and then, I was a single woman. But I love people, I love nurturing people and I love the word of God and as circumstances presented themselves, it just became a good fit and so I’m really enjoying this journey.
“We’re doing fascinating things here at our church such as, on Feb. 12, 2017, we’re going to have our Love Sunday and it’s our Fourth Annual Love Sunday in which, we decorate the church and take the opportunity to do the thing that Christ has commissioned us to do and that is, to love one another the way He has loved us (John 13:34) and that’s a Sunday when we admonish and edify each other. We give out certificates to people who have made progress, accomplishments and we recognize them for the work that they’re doing for the Kingdom and we also give out candy and roses. This year, we’re going to give out plaques to those who made extraordinary pledges and reached their goals for our Raise the Roof Campaign. Also, we’ve got a lot of single people in our congregation because I’m a single pastor and sometimes singles don’t always get the love or attention they might want or need and maybe they’re lonely so we, the church comes in and be that person that embraces them and say hay, you’re loved. There’s somebody who loves you, we embrace you and God loves you more than anybody and it’s okay and everyone is welcome to join us and receive something as well.
“Also, starting Sunday March 12, 2017, we’re going to start our services at 2 p.m., and Sunday School will start at 1 p.m. We’re going to experiment with this for one year to see how well it works and if we’ll be able to capture people that would miss the 11 a.m. hour. Reason being, Destiny Life Center is the kind of church that’s outside the box, sort of speak because we’re not really religious. What we have is, a cultural of love that just embraces people the way the Bible talks about and it’s our mission to embrace, equip and empower everyday people to live extraordinary lives through kingdom principals and relationships. So, one of the key components is, love and we like to nurture one another and it became increasing aware to us that the churches got to change somethings in the way of how we get the gospel out in this new culture and in this new environment that we’re living in.
“Because everybody is working so hard, six days a week and they’re fatigued and many are working two jobs and working third shift and Sunday is just not a time that fits for everybody, to just get up and rush out, so we really want to reach some people that are un-churched such as people that might have been at the club on Saturday night. Because they grew up with their grandparents knowing, that church is a good place to go and they know where their blessings are coming from and the time of 11a.m., just doesn’t fit.
“We here at Destiny Life Center also show love and encouragement to our youth and I want all youth to know, there are some people that are praying for you and allow us to embrace and love you because this is a church where you can find that. Also, the second Thursday in May to the second Thursday in November we offer Thirsty Thursday to you. It’s a platform in which, we’re open to the commuity to have their say and it’s open Mic, so if there’s something you want to share you can. Because people don’t really get a chance to say what wonderful things has happened to them or to express themselves in whatever they’re going through so we give them that opportunity and some express it through poetry, songs, a couple of clean funny jokes or even dance. So mark those dates on your calendars because we’d love for you to join us and express yourself to Glorify God and Jesus because if we could just begin to love each other, the way that Christ loves us, what a wonderful world this would begin to be. To realize that nobody’s perfect and we all have our stories and our baggage and if we could just learn to love and be a lot more patient with one another what a wonderful world it would be.”
Now in closing I say, I thank GOD for you Pastor Staton and the vision that HE has bestowed upon your heart to share with HIS people. It’s absolutely beautiful. So until next week you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye bye, babies.
P.S. If you’d like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone you know, in the name of love, send me an email to email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.