Folks in the Brady community have been seeing a new face in town for the past couple of months, but Pastor Bonnie Brock is doing her best to become a very familiar face to area residents.
Pastor Brock serves the congregations of Brady United Methodist Church and Banner United Methodist Church. Her first day on the job was Sunday, July 4.
Brock grew up about 20 miles south of Eustis and graduated from Holbrook High School. Her calling into ministry, Brock said, came about a little later in her life.
“I’m not your typical pastor. I didn’t grow up in church - I was kind of hit and miss. When God called me it was during an Easter pageant in Bertrand and the pastor who had started that with us had left. So everybody looked at me and asked if we were going to still do it. So I was the coordinator for the pageant for the next nine years,” Brock recalled. “But I kept hearing a voice telling me there was more for me to do. I thought surely someone who had grown up in church was more suited than me, but I got my sign and started pursuing the ministry. This is my 14th year as a pastor.”
Prior to becoming a licensed local pastor Brock served two churches for four years as a certified lay minister, and before that she was a certified lay speaker for seven years. Because of family commitments Brock did not attend seminary but instead attended Courses Study - mostly during the summers - for five years in Kansas City, Missouri.
“During that time I had 12 surgeries, was working for three churches and subbed at 10 schools.” Brock has degrees in elementary education and has also worked at preschools and head start among several other jobs.
Despite the trials she’s endured Brock said she has never doubted her calling or had any regrets about her decision. She explained that in the United Methodist Church congregations and pastors give a review each October to make sure that everyone is happy. If for some reason they are not, the pastor is moved to a new location. However, that is not always the case.
“Sometimes, like last November, out of the blue something happens with a pastor and they look at your gifts and just ask you to move to another church,” Brock explained. “Basically they assign us for a year and each year it is determined what is going to happen the next year.”
Brock and her husband, Craig, live in Brady. She said she and Craig have settled in quickly at Brady, where the church held a potluck to introduce them to the community shortly after they arrived. “People won’t know you’re there until they know you care. I try to do that - to let people know I care and I am here for them,” Brock said. She does that by attending school activities to support the kids, sending worship services in print to the individuals in nursing homes, packing goody bags for the athletes for away games and for the band kids, as well as other things.
“It bothers me that our society seems to be turning everywhere else for comfort and answers, but the church family is here to help you and walk with you,” said Brock. “We are all just sinners trying to get better.”