Note from Pastor Deanna: For years, I prayed for a retired pastor and pastor’s wife to come to Celebration. I had only shared this desire with a few ministry friends, privately.
I wanted a couple who would be with us permanently --not just stopping by for a few months of healing. (We've had many pastors and their families who were in need of healing or in transition become a part of us for months or even a year or so, and we thank God for that. It's a privilege to be part of someone's healing process.) I dreamed of a retired pastor/wife that would be planted and could be with us to support, serve, to understand.
In April of 2013, my husband called our church to a 40 day fast. One of my personal prayers was answered during the fast when David and Mary Jenkins and their precious daughter Josie and grandson Hunter walked into our church and became one of the best blessings to us, ever. I blogged about it, here.
To have another seasoned, loyal, rightly motivated former senior pastor's wife who could be there as a support, in the same church??? Pretty much a dream, right? I love it when God-dreams come true.
I am delighted to introduce Mary Jenkins today, for those who have not met her, you’re in for a real treat. And for those who do know her – you’ll just be twice blessed to hear from her heart today.
Celebration Women: Mary, when did you say “yes” to Jesus?”
Mary: As a young girl, I was always in church, so I don’t know the specific time or date I asked Jesus in my heart. However, I believe I was around 8 or 9 years old when I received the Holy Spirit.
Celebration Women: What is your favorite passage of scripture, and why?
Mary: Psalm 23. Because at one point in my life I was diligently seeking God to the point where I could not eat for weeks! In the midst of my dilemma, a man of God told me to take the 23rd Psalm and let it be my source of nourishment…three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and supper.
As I began to do this, God spirit came in and comforted me and my appetite slowly began to return. I realized later God was preparing me to enter into full-time ministry with my husband.
Celebration Women: Tell us about your family…
Mary: God has greatly blessed me with two beautiful, talented and loving daughters. Josie Michele, now 38, lives and works in the Tampa, Florida area. Amy Doreese, 37, lives and works in New Orleans, LA.
Josie has an 11 and ½ year old son, my very handsome and terrific grandson, Hunter Benjamin, who I affectionately call Hunner Bunner, Hunner Bunce, or Hunt Bunt. I love my grandson!
Also, I have a very, very, very frisky five month old beagle granddog. She is very pretty. Her name is Lucy, named after Lucille Ball, of course! Ha ha ha!
Celebration Women: You and your husband David were pastors for many years. Where were the churches you pastored?
Mary: We served as youth pastors in Baton Rouge, LA where Dave also helped build a new parsonage for the senior pastor and family. We also served as senior pastors in Farmington, NM, Vandalia, OH, Tickfaw, LA and Dover, FL.
Even before, in-between and after pastoring we have always been involved in the church, helping in any way that we could.
We served in North Cleveland Church of God, Cleveland, TN, in the children’s department. We also helped out in ministry at my home church – Riverhills Church of God, Tampa in bus ministry and children and youth classes, and Dave finished the inside shell of a new church building for the senior pastor, to move the congregation from the old building into the new sanctuary. We also served in Dave’s home church, Shepherd’s Fold Church of God in Covington, LA as children and youth church classes and camps. Before we moved to Tampa we were with Transforming Life Ministries AG in Plant City, FL. I taught Missionettes and Prims and helped with the Women’s Ministries when I could and Dave taught a Royal Rangers class and helped in prison ministry.
Since becoming a part of Celebration Church, I have started teaching a toddler class and Dave teaches an adult life group. Pastor Deanna has asked me to serve on one of the women's leadership teams in the coming year, and I am looking forward to that as well.
Dave and I have been married for 43 years, soon to be 44 years, December 27, 2013.
Celebration Women: What was the thing you most enjoyed about pastoring a church?
Mary: The people…meeting the people and their families. I enjoyed visiting them, helping them when we could, being a friend to them, and praying with and for them. Although as a pastor’s wife I wore many hats (playing the piano, singing, altar work, ladies ministry, and teaching classes from nursery to teens) I would have to say I enjoyed teaching the first, second and third graders most. I enjoyed the interaction when teaching them through writing and memorizing scriptures, teaching lessons through expressive talking, sketches, songs, toys, art work, puzzles, etc.
Celebration Women: What was the most difficult thing for you, about pastoring?
Mary: Being away from my parents, family members, home church and friends.
Celebration Women: If you could give one piece of advice to your twenty year old self, from yourself now…what would it be?
Mary: Listening and trusting God more, and go with more patience and perseverance.