Rev. Jessie Light-Wells Announces New Ministry Initiative

    August 27, 2019 | News

    As Rev. Jessie Light-Wells' two-year residency program comes to an end, the PHPC Foundation has extended the residency for one year to allow Rev. Light-Wells to start a campus residency program at SMU.

    "Currently,  SMU does not have a PC(USA) campus ministry, and as a result,  there is a gap for students, including those from Preston Hollow, who long to be connected to an open and welcoming Reformed worshiping community," said Rev. Matthew Ruffner. "Jessie is a natural fit for this exciting new ministry initiative.  Among other things, she brings gifts for leading and planning meaningful worship, building authentic relationships, and walking alongside others on their journey of faith.  We have benefitted from Jessie’s immense contributions over the last two years, and are excited to launch her into this next phase of her pastoral call!”

    "Finding a home in a PC(USA) campus ministry in college radically shaped my sense of call, and was the beginning of my journey toward ordination," said Rev. Light-Wells. "During my time at PHPC, I have discerned a call to work with college students, and to create the same kind of nurturing community that set me on this path. College is a unique and formative time when many students are seeking a spiritual home on campus: a place to ask questions, a place to rest, a place to worship and discern God’s calling.

    In the last two years at Preston Hollow, I’ve been nourished by my relationships with you and blessed by the opportunities I’ve had to grow in my gifts for ministry. I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am for all that this experience has been, and how excited I am to continue in partnership with PHPC to draw the circle wider and to create a new place where all belong."

    What will some of Jessie’s responsibilities as UKirk SMU’s Campus Minister?

    Jessie will lead a weekly worship service with communion on the SMU campus, which will be followed by a free dinner. Additionally, Jessie will build relationships with students and offer pastoral care through one-on-one meetings, group fellowship events and retreats, and service projects. She will cultivate a Board of Directors to support the organization and work to make the ministry financially sustainable. UKirk means “University Church” -- “kirk” is an old Scots-English word for church. It is associated with a network of campus ministries in the Presbyterian Church (USA), but is not just for Presbyterians!


    How will Jessie’s ministry be funded?

    Jessie’s position will be initially funded by the PHPC Foundation through a one-year extension of the Monie Pastoral Residency. One of her responsibilities during this year will be to find sources of funding to sustain the ministry beyond the first year.

    Will the Monie Pastoral Residency program end after Jessie’s term ends?

    No, the Monie Pastoral Residency will continue as a program funded through the Monie Pastoral Residency Fund held by the PHPC Foundation. Preston Hollow will seek a new Monie Pastoral Resident to begin in fall of 2020.

    What will Jessie’s ongoing connection to Preston Hollow?

    Along with one-year financial support from the PHPC Foundation, Jessie will maintain a relational connection Preston Hollow through a supervisory relationship with Rev. Mark Brainerd, as well as a mentoring relationship with Rev. Matthew Ruffner. 

    What is the connection between SMU Campus Ministry and the larger PC(USA) denomination?

    Grace Presbytery is supportive of Jessie’s new ministry. She will have a presence at quarterly meetings and will build on that connection in the coming years. Additionally, Jessie will seek to cultivate a relationship between UKirk (Presbyterian Campus Ministry) and Grace Presbytery.

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