In honor of African-American History Month, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries is collaborating with the Rev. Tawnya Denise Anderson, pastor at Unity Presbyterian Church in Temple Hills, Md., to lift up stories of young African-American leaders from across the PC(USA). Over the coming weeks, Anderson’s blog, “SOULa Scriptura,” will run a special series titled “Our New Day Begun” to highlight the stories of African-Americans who are leading the charge in shaping the church’s future.

This post features Rev. Jerrod B. Lowry, a teaching elder in the Presbytery of Utah. Jerrod is a 35-year-old pastor who hails from Augusta, GA. Before coming to his current church, Jerrod was the pastor of Saint Paul Presbyterian Church in Louisburg, NC and the Associate for Specialized Ministries for the Presbytery of  New Hope. He is a family man who truly has the heart of a pastor.

Describe your current call.
I serve as the pastor for Community of Grace Presbyterian Church (USA) in Sandy, UT – a suburb of Salt Lake City. We are a mid-sized congregation of roughly 210. Our members cover a wide spectrum. We are children, youth, young adults, established professionals, and retired seniors. We are conservative, moderate, and liberal politically and theologically. We are predominately white but have enough representation to be considered diverse in the PC(USA). I’ve found that most were not raised Presbyterian and many joined because we are the closest non-Mormon worshiping community to their residence.

What led you to pursue ordination as a Teaching Elder?
Since middle school I’ve felt what I would often describe as “a tugging toward something”. It was the support and encouragement of my family and many great saints in the church, who would tell me “have you considered the ministry” or flat out said “you’re going to be a preacher”, that I now feel paved a clear path for me.

What has been the most rewarding thing about being in leadership? What has been most challenging?
What’s been the most challenging aspect of leadership has been dealing with the built in paradigm that as the pastor I have to be the leader. I’ve found it most rewarding when members of the congregation and the officers of the church feel encouraged to lead various ministries and aspects of church life. I can not begin to describe the beauty of seeing someone who swore “they could never do…”, do just that, and realize doing it fed them in a way they never imagined possible. As a pastor I feel called to encourage people to realize their own calling.

Click here to read the rest of this feature on the SOULa Scriptura blog and watch for more in this series during African-American History Month.