By Bonnie Culverhouse
Fourteen years ago, when Ashley Cockburn married Robert McGuire in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Minden, she had no idea that someday she would return as pastor of that church.
“To think I am going to be able to preach in the same sanctuary where that wonderful event happened is an exciting thing,” Rev. Ashley McGuire said.
Having served FUMC in Alexandria since 2016, it is hard for the young family to leave a place they’ve loved and where they are loved.
“At the same time, we are excited to get to know the people in the area closer to where I grew up and where Rob spent a good portion of time – in the Shreveport/Bossier area,” she said.
Rev. McGuire knows she is following Brian Mercer, Fred Wideman and Jack O’Dell. She said she applauds their enthusiasm and commitment to the community.
“I know that he (Brian) was big on reaching out to the community, and that’s a love of mine,” she said. “I love to help people discover a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, and I hope we can continue – not just building the church but building the Kingdom of God together.”
Comparing Brian Mercer and Fred Wideman, she believes she is “kind of in the middle” when it comes to personality.
“I am extremely enthusiastic when it comes to the Lord and God’s people,” she said. “I preach with passion … I don’t say that to boast … I feel it because the Holy Spirit takes over in those moments.”
She doesn’t believe being a female pastor brings many challenges.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been a female pastor, and I’ve been the first,” she said, with a smile in her voice. “It’s always been a blessing for myself and for my family, and the church has said when we leave every time, that we’ve been a blessing to them, too. So, I’m taking their word on it.”
A graduate of Duke University in 2003 with a degree in Biomedical/ Electrical Engineering and a minor in Chemistry, Rev. McGuire now considers herself a pastor, a wife, a mother, a musician, a scholar, a friend and a lover of sunsets.
In 2005, she answered the call to ministry, beginning her first appointment at Bethel UMC where she spent her seminary years in 2006.
In 2009, she graduated Perkins School of Theology at SMU and spent the next five years serving as Associate Pastor at FUMC Bossier, the church she attended as a child.
The couple has two sons – Danny (6th grade) and Drew (4th grade).
“I love music, sunsets, spending time with friends and family, reading, playing the drums and at the guitar, watching a good movie and helping someone discover a deeper relationship with Jesus,” she concluded.
Her first day at FUMC will be July 1, while her first Sunday in the pulpit will be July 4.
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