ROCK ISLAND -- To illustrate a children's sermon about creation, new Church of Peace pastor the Rev. Mariah Marlin-Warfield brought some modeling clay for kids to use to create something of their own.|
"Children's sermons can always be interesting and surprising," she said.
So when one little girl used her clay to make a mythological sea beast, the Rev. Marlin-Warfield hardly was shocked. Another young listener took an easier course and made a snake.
Something her new parishioners, young and old alike, have learned about their new pastor is she is not afraid to look for Bible stories and take a crack at looking at them differently.
For example, a summer worship series she has planned will take a new look at the "Old, Old Stories" of Noah, Moses, David and Goliath, the Good Samaritan, Lazarus and others. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Sundays through Labor Day.
Rev. Marlin-Warfield, 33, gave her first sermon at Church of Peace, United Church of Christ, at 1114 12th St., in mid-February after being named its pastor in late October 2012. She was chosen after a nationwide search for a new minister to replace the Rev. Dr. Michael Swartz, who retired in June 2012 after 21 years. Rev. Swartz now works as interim senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Moline.
Rev. Marlin-Warfield's first three months at Church of Peace have been "tremendously exciting, especially in terms of the people here," she said. "One of the things that attracted us to come here was the tremendous commitment people have toward outreach into the community. This is a church that really cares for its own while finding a variety of ways to help people in the community. Helping others is a way they help each other as members of the church."
She noted a special admiration for the congregation's dedication to a huge feeding program for Rock Island children.
"Something else most people already know about me is that I have a strong passion for prison ministry," Rev. Marlin-Warfield said. "Another thing that drew my husband and me here is the diversity. My husband and I truly celebrate diversity. It's not just about tolerating diversity but embracing it."
She also comes from a long line of UCC pastors, including her father and grandfather, she said.
Church of Peace is her second call, "so I'm still learning a bit about being a pastor," Rev. Marlin-Warfield said.
She had been a youth and family pastor at United Church of Christ Congregational Church in Medina, Ohio, "where I only got to preach one or two times a month." she said. "Now I get to do much more of the worship."
It's also a learning process for her congregation, she said.
"We're learning more together about the ways God is calling us to serve and what He wants us to do," Rev. Marlin-Warfield said.
"I think the church is poised to change dramatically and has the potential to deepen relationships we have in the community. "
Potential they will mold together, such as potters do with clay.
The Rev. Mariah Marlin-Warfield
Birth date: Feb. 10, 1980.
Education: Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in nonviolence and peacemaking; Master of Divinity degree, Chicago Theological Society; ordained December 2008, at St. Peter United Church of Christ, Seven Hills, Ohio.
Hometown: Kettering, Ohio.
Family: Husband, Christopher.
Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 58: 6-7.
Favorite Biblical people I'd like to meet: "Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah."
Hobbies: "Playing violin, reading, learning to juggle."
One thing I feel strongly about: "Helping every person know they are loved by God."
I wish I knew how to: "Speak Spanish."
Andalusia, IL Details
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