As a teacher, Colleen Petaros thought that a natural use of her God-given gifts would be to pursue some sort of ministry related to education in her retirement. Indeed, she accepted a ministry assistant position with her local church in Maquoketa and oversaw the educational needs there for children through adults. Her classes in the Iowa School for Lay Ministry helped her feel confident in the role.
However, she found herself restless. She had a feeling that God had something else in mind for her. She discovered that a hospice chaplaincy position had opened up, so she applied. She found that caring for persons who were nearing the end of their lives was very rewarding. The work also led to a relationship with a local funeral home to preside at memorial services. “I found a paradox,” she said, “that in emptying myself, I was filled.” Her ministry with grieving families continues to this day.
The School for Lay Ministry is a three-year experience for lay persons to explore their Christian faith and further discern how God is leading them into a wide range of ministry, both paid and unpaid. The Board of Laity is designating $9,600 in scholarship support for students this year. These funds are made possible with the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches throughout Iowa.