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King University News :: King Alumna Sarah Bird Ordained as Presbyterian Minister

SEWICKLEY, Penn., Nov. 19, 2014 - Glade Spring, Va., native Sarah Bird always loved the church and knew it would be significant in her life. On Oct. 19, 2014, Bird was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

“I am a fifth-generation PC(USA) minister. In a lot of ways, it is in my blood,” said Bird. “Growing up so close to something like that, I saw the joys and challenges and understood what an incredible privilege it is to serve.”

From the time she was young, Bird was always drawn to the church. “I have always just loved the church – the people, the place, and everything that comes with it. Our family’s life seem to ebb and flow with the church’s life; the seasons of the church, the people, illnesses, marriages, and baptisms in so many ways dictated the rhythm of my own family’s life.”

It was not until she arrived at King University that Bird discovered her true call to the ministry. “At King, I was given the opportunity to figure out what I believed, and what my faith looked like apart from my home church and my dad. It was during this time at King I grew into the call of being a minister.”

While at King, Bird was able to delve into her own faith and make it her own. Through King’s core classes of Old and New Testament, Bird realized she wanted to study the Bible for the rest of her life. “I would love to be a life-long student, and [by being a minister], in some ways I am. Doing this ‘job,’ you have to be in a posture of knowing you still have so much to learn.”

She graduated from King University in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Religion with a minor in English Literature.

“Sarah Bird is one of the finest graduates from King,” said Don Michael Hudson, associate professor of Religious Studies and chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department. “We are extremely proud of her, and we know that she will do great things in the future. She is brilliant, compassionate, and uniquely gifted for leadership in ministry.”

After King, Bird entered Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 2011 after taking a year off to work with her father in the church’s youth ministry. Bird said King prepared her well for seminary. “King taught me how to learn. The professors taught me how to enter a classroom and absorb everything, to ask questions, and build relationships. Those skills served me well at Princeton.”

Although Princeton Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian-affiliated school, less than 50% of the students identify with that denomination. “They are very ecumenical in the student body. One of the things I loved about Princeton was the diversity there – diversity, not only ethnic and racial, but also theological - diversity of opinions and thought. It was challenging and helped shape who I am. ”

In May of 2014, Bird graduated with her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The service for ordination of Sarah Bird was held on Oct. 19 at Sewickley Presbyterian Church in Sewickley, Penn., where she is now serving as associate pastor. Part of the service included her father giving her a charge. “My father told me what it means to be a pastor and charged me to be faithful. It was a truly special service.”

As associate pastor, Bird’s focus is on congregational care as well as adult education including Sunday school and Bible study opportunities during the week. She is performing worship leadership each Sunday including serving communion. She will also preach once a month. Her first sermon was on the day of her ordination.

Rev. Bird summed up her ministry experience thus far, saying, “I have met some incredible people; their hearts for God and for this church are huge. I am loving people here, and trying to serve and encourage them in the work and ministry here.”

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