Rebecca Hjelle, Sioux Falls Seminary Graduate, Class of 2008, M. Div.
July 22, 2012
Carrying out the call…
It’s funny to think sometimes how one little cup of coffee can alter a future. This year (2012) Rebecca Hjelle was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection at the Nebraska Annual Conference, an experience, she says, that was truly a full circle moment. As she was ordained she felt the prayers of everyone who had supported and encouraged her from the time of her youth, through college, her seminary days, and into her first years of ministry.
Rebecca said that she still reconnects often with friends and professors from Sioux Falls Seminary, and every time she does she is reminded of what an important time it was in her life. When Rebecca started seminary she wanted to be just about anything other than a pastor, but when she graduated from SFS with her Master of Divinity she accepted a call to one of the largest United Methodist churches in Nebraska. “Quite a change!” she said.
Currently, she is serving as the Pastor of Blair First United Methodist Church. “I am so grateful,” Rebecca said, “for all those who helped me to discern and clarify that call to pastoral ministry. I love being a pastor and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!” In ministry there are always days when things don’t go as planned, or when things have turned out a little less than hoped, but even through those tough days Rebecca knows God’s love and grace are at work, and that, she says, is what it’s all about.
Rebecca is so grateful for everything SFS has taught her and for the ways it helped to shape her as a leader, as a person, and as a follower of Jesus Christ. She said, “It’s hard to believe it all started over a cup of coffee, but thanks be to God for that call that continues to work in us until we are ready for it to work through us!”
The original call…
While in college, I worked at a Bible Camp for two summers. There, my relationship with Christ really started to grow. After I graduated from college I found my dream job. However, during my second year working, I started to feel discontent. I felt like there was something else I needed to be doing. But this was my dream job! Certainly God wouldn’t call me out of my dream job, right?
But he was! So, I left my job and started to listen for God’s voice—hoping to see the flashing neon sign that would guide me to the next thing. Then, I had coffee with my good friend and found myself considering seminary! After all, a lot of major decisions in my life seemed to happen over coffee and coming to Sioux Falls Seminary was no different. My good friend happened to be a student at SFS. She talked about the professors, the community, the programs, and then she encouraged me to check it out online. After going online to the SFS website, I sent in an email for more information. That night I got a call from an admissions counselor, and she invited me to a Visit Day on campus that next day. I waffled about coming to visit, but I decided to go the next morning and check it out. The rest is history! If you are wrestling with the call to ministry; pray, seek counsel, and come visit campus. I kept waiting for the heavens to open and to hear a booming voice, but sometimes the call to ministry is a process and a still small voice. So, pray, seek wise counsel, and then come visit.