A Parish Associate is an ordained minister serving within a church but not in a call position (such as an Associate Pastor). As in our situation, it is often a part-time position. The Parish Associate works under the direction of the Pastor and is approved by the Session and the Presbytery’s Committee of Ministry.
Deanie Strength, our new Parish Associate, will be working part-time for us. Her primary work hours will be Tuesday through Friday mornings and early afternoon. She will work one Sunday a month, at which time she will serve as a liturgist, and will preach at least six times a year (mostly in the pastor’s absence). She will be available as a resource to the preschool with Bible teaching, to make hospital and home visits with parishioners, and to help reach out to those who may become new members of the church. She will serve as an ad-hoc member of the Discipleship, Mission and Benevolence, Worship and Music Committees and will be available to help create new ministry and mission opportunities.
Deanie was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament when she accepted a call to serve St. Simon’s Presbyterian Church as Associate Pastor in 1999. She served in that position for seven years and then supported that congregation for nine years through service as a volunteer and mother. Deanie and her husband Joey made the decision to move to Savannah in 2015 when Joey accepted a position with the Hunter MacLean Law Firm where he now practices real estate law. Their children, James (13) and Nell (10), are students at Savannah Country Day School.
Deanie was educated at the University of Alabama (B.A.) and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in Texas. She was raised in the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, worshiped with First Presbyterian Church, Georgetown, Texas while in seminary and fulfilled her seminary internship at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Laura Mendenhall, later president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She also worked on the neonatal and gynecological floors as a summer chaplain at Scott and White Hospital in Texas.
A favorite verse of Deanie’s is Luke 11:9 – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” She thinks of herself as a seeker, eager to seek the Lord where He may be found. She has been practicing contemplative prayer and 12 step spirituality to deepen her relationship with God and others and to better discern the path the Holy Spirit is leading her along. During the course of her ministry, doors have opened to support men and women spiritually along the journey of life; to labor alongside brothers and sisters in faith in Jamaica, Malawi, and Brazil; to encourage mentally and financially challenged residents of downtown Brunswick and Savannah through community ministries; and to nurture the faith of presbytery children as a camp director, Sunday School teacher and youth leader. Prayers have been answered for opportunities to serve and glorify God through her words, music, and simple acts of kindness. Most recently she has been singing in the choir and providing contemplative piano music at First Presbyterian Church, Savannah where her husband and children are members.
She is energized by the opportunity to assist pastors in the presbytery who are offering their gifts to strengthen churches. She looks forward to assisting Rev. Garrison in his service to Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church and supporting the congregation in its efforts to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ. Glory be to God!