The week after the annual regional convention is the traditional time for transitions in the United Methodist Church. This week Covington First United Methodist Church said a sad goodbye to Associate Pastor Jessica Terrell, who moves on as director of Emory's Wesley Foundation and director of young adult and student ministries at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta but welcomed a new associate pastor, Julie Schendel.
Schendel, a 26-year-old Lilburn native and recent graduate of Emory University's Candler School of Theology, previously served in Rome as a director of student ministries.
She was in high school when she first got the inkling that church leadership might be a calling for her.
As part of a youth leadership group under Youth Minister Allen Todd, Schendel was in charge of leading the small group bible studies at the church's youth retreat. It was the first time she had lead a group of her peers and it gave her the confidence that this was something she could do.
Senior Pastor John Whatley describes her as "very outgoing, very caring, loving, a thinker, compassionate."
Meeting Whatley also left a great impression on Schendel.
"He seemed incredibly friendly and easy to get to know," she said. "Instead of working under him, I'd be working side-by-side with him and that appealed to me."
She looks forward to getting a chance to work on a variety of ministries and getting to know the congregation.
"They've been nothing but warm and friendly and already treat me like family," she said.