Kayla Mangrich, pastor at Plainville UMC in Kansas shares her experience in the TiM Program.
In March of 2016, I received a phone call from (at that time) Hays D.S. Rev. Jim Akins informing me of an appointment in Plainville, KS. Soon after, I accepted and was officially appointed to Plainville UMC becoming the first Phase 1 solo Pastor in the TiM program. Plainville UMC is my first appointment and there have been many highs and lows. Every church family has their struggles and PUMC is no different.
There have been numerous low points while serving here at PUMC, but I would have to say my lowest point was within my first month and a half of being here. My first seven weeks will forever be ingrained in my mind and even in my heart. They were difficult weeks dealing with conflict and backbiting against the previous pastor and myself. As a new pastor, I turned to my D.S. (who was informed of the situation by the congregation members that were causing the conflict), Ashlee, my mentor Mike Rose and the other TiM pastors in my cohort. Without their support and wisdom, I don’t believe I would have continued in pastoral ministry after the first year. Meeting regularly with other clergy who are also walking through the ups and downs in their appointments helped me learn from their experiences. I didn’t feel so alone or isolated in my location or situation. I would have to say, participating in Residency and PCM along with Leading out of Drama training is some of the most helpful training I have ever received and is now a resource I have in my back pocket. I am someone who thinks, reflects and dwells situations for far too long, and then I need to talk it over with someone. With the TiM program, there is space to talk it over with your mentor and cohort. There is time and space to process, talk, and learn from one another, which is more valuable than all the seminary training in the world.
There are times while I have served here that its felt as though there have been more lows than high. Yet, I know that God’s grace, mercy and love are working even though the times when I feel this way. As I reflect on the high points of this journey, I am thankful for the relationships that I have built; relationships within the congregation of PUMC, community of Plainville and cohort in the TiM program. I am learning through this journey that we are meant for relationships. More than ever I am discovering that the stronger relationships I have with others, the stronger my relationship with God becomes. My TiM Committee was amazing at helping me to create relationships in the congregation. There was a wide age group, which helped connect me in different ways to different parts of the community. One TiM committee member is a part of the local Lions Club, so I became a member of Lion’s Club too, which has allowed me to become known to business owners in the community and those who are civic minded. Through Lions Club I began taking tickets at the various athletic home games, and you can frequently find me on a Friday night cheering from the South Gate for our Cardinal football team. This relationship has allowed me to build a friendship with one of the football coaches whose family owns the local gas station where he works. This relationship has extended to the men who sit around shooting the breeze on a daily basis at the gas station. There, I have been able to meet men who don’t know anything about me except that I’m a pastor who in their words “does good funerals.” Because of this, I have doors that have been opened and conversations happen that I never would have expected to have. I truly do love sitting with the guys and talking about world events, national news and the happenings of small town Plainville. I’m greeted with a smile and a hello from many of them while in the community and have discovered several of them are even my neighbors. These are the kind of relationships and connections that help me see, know, and believe that I am following the call God has placed on my life.