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Being the Church with Rev. Sherry Hietpas

This month we continue our Q & A Being the Church series with our newly appointed Associate Pastor, Sherry Hietpas. Read on to learn about how she’s living out her personal calling to Be the Church both in and outside of our church building—

How do you define Being the Church?

When I think of being the church, I think of all the ways that we become the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. It can be as simple as picking up litter when you’re on a walk or bringing dinner to a sick friend. The church is so much more than just a gathering place for worship on Sunday morning, though that is important. We are the best example of the church when we love others through our actions.

Being the Church :: In our building

I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of my job is getting to be a part of this amazing team. Earlier this year we started meeting every Thursday morning for prayer, which has been lifegiving. It’s even more full when church members wander through on Thursdays to join us. The past year has been incredible, but I can’t imagine getting through my final year of seminary without the love and support of this staff. At the end of the day, working at Andrew Chapel isn’t just a job. We are all here because we believe that God is at work among us. In the midst of all that we do in the day to day, it’s important to remember whose we are in Christ, first.

Being the Church :: In the community

I utterly love being a Marine Corps spouse. My husband, Andrew, has spent his career as a proud Marine tanker, which is a small but close-knit community. We have moved all over the country and lived far from family most of our adult life. One of the lessons I’ve learned from this lifestyle is that community isn’t just something you are part of, it’s something you cultivate. Each place we have lived, we’ve made a point of opening our home and having people over for a meal. These dinners have consisted of neighbors and friends from all areas of our lives. There’s something special about sharing a meal with friends and this tradition is something that we’ve definitely missed having consistently over the past couple of years. As I look back over the many different places we’ve lived, there have been so many friendships that have been built around our dining room table. The food is never fancy and often things don’t go as planned. But in each place, we have made a point to continue to pour into our community and build relationships with those around us. While it’s always hard to leave one place and go to another, I’ve always been grateful for the friends and family that we have found along the way.

Being the Church :: Nurturing how fearfully and wonderfully made you are

When I’m not busy on the weekend running the kids from one activity to the next, one of our favorite downtimes is playing board games as a family. When Andrew’s parents visit, we get locked into hours of pinochle, while my family is filled with die hard spades players. With our own children we have become huge fans of Ticket to Ride, Azule, and Code Names this year. We go through seasons of having different games that pull our attention, but we love to laugh and spend time together over a board game. So, if there’s ever a time when our family members aren’t pulled in different directions, you’ll find us around a table with a game between us.

Being the Church :: Do small things with great love

At Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church, we believe that Being the Church doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, organized mission project or even planned in advance, here are three small things Sherry thinks just about anyone can do with great love to Be the Church in the world—

  1. Choose kindness first. In every interaction look for ways to leave someone or someplace better than you found it.
  2. Make a point to remain curious and ask questions. So many in our world are hurting, and oftentimes we are too busy to recognize when others struggle. But if we remain curious, we can find ways to notice and respond. Plus, if we are curious, we will continue to learn regardless of our age.
  3. Seek humility. We can always accomplish so much more in this world if we aren’t worried about who receives the credit. This is counter to our American culture, but I think it better embodies the example that Jesus gave us.