Ayana Wills offers the final installment in our series of new elder blogs. After a time of training this summer, she was ordained as a ruling elder along with Erica Angert and Lisa Dove in a moving service earlier this month. They were installed as new Session members with previously ordained elders Glenna Finnicum, Ann Hamric, Sally Molenkamp, and David Ross. “Telling Our Stories” is grateful to these fine folks for sharing their insights and experiences in this space, as well as their willingness to serve our church.
Over the course of the summer, I have had the opportunity to get to know and fellowship with my peers – Ann, Erica, Sally, Glenna, Lisa and David. We each had discussions about how we felt called to serve the community at this point in time. We spoke about caring for the church and how GPPC has helped shaped our perspectives of the world and our lives.
I decided to fellowship with this institution in 2008 upon arrival to the USA. Being the teenager that I was, I felt called to worship with this congregation along with my family. It was here I continued to grow in faith and met some incredible leaders – to help guide me in the absolute direction. Sunday School classes and choir were definitely a bonus for me – I met numerous friends and felt connected. Unlike coming to a new country where you leave everything behind, the pieces were beginning to be knitted together.
Being young and new to this role, I have no doubt that I will make the best of this opportunity. The hopes and aspirations that were brought up over several elder training sessions really sparked our minds. Amidst all of the various backgrounds that we are from, we all connected GPPC in our hearts and want to contribute to the growth and nurture of this organization.
Examining GPPC’s Statement of Purpose, “to nurture love of God, neighbor, and self”, we are then held accountable to extend that welcome to everyone that enters through the doors. A few years ago, I saw and felt that welcome and continue to see it today. Being able to have the opportunity to serve on Session, knowing what God and the leaders of this church have done to help mold me, I feel extremely excited and willing to extend the nurture and love to the people I encounter.
Ayana Wills has been attending GPPC since arriving in Richmond from Guyana, South America in 2008. Currently a student at VCU, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and jogging. Ayana is also an active choir member and assists in various areas with youth.