We Are About Relationships
The oldest of four children, Velma Parker grew up in Flint, Mich., where early family and church influences shaped her Christian life. “I was encouraged at a very early age to have a relationship with Christ by my Great-Aunt Callie. She taught me the importance of having time alone with God and how to listen for and to the voice of God,” Velma says.
Other people who inspired her included her mother, who helped her discern the purpose of God for her life, and the Rev. McReynolds, who became pastor of her church when she was 15 years old. Under his encouragement, she sang in the youth choir and taught children’s Sunday School classes and new member training.
Velma moved to this area in 1989 when her ex-husband was transferred to work at Saturn. In 1999 she and daughters Bria and Vanessa moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, but returned five years later so the girls could be close to their father after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now Vanessa is studying Spanish and sociology at the University of Evansville and Bria is studying sociology at Transylvania University. Velma also has another daughter, LaToya, a Job Corps counselor living in Flint with her three sons.
Velma is a financial service representative at First Bank, but a full-time job is not enough for this energetic and vibrant woman. She is enrolled part-time in the ministry program at Belmont University and she has entered the candidacy program to become a United Methodist minister.
Velma has been a member of Christ UMC for two years, but this is not her first association with this church. “When I was serving as an associate pastor at Swift Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nashville, I felt a pull to return to The United Methodist Church. When I prayed about where I should go to serve, I heard the word ‘Christ.’ I had attended Christ UMC in the late 1990s so I knew this was the church I was supposed to attend,” she said.
Velma takes the word “serve” seriously. At Christ UMC she teaches a women’s Bible study and participates in the church’s greeters ministry and prison Pen Pal ministry. She also is a communion steward, belongs to a Companions in Christ group and helps count the offering and reads scripture on some Sundays. In her “spare time,” Velma enjoys quilting and reading.
What do you like best about Christ UMC?
What I like best about the church is that you can truly be who you are and be accepted. It’s a place where your background or past faith-walk does not matter. I also like that there seems to be a place for everyone in the church no matter your age group. I also enjoy how involved Christ UMC is within the Franklin community, for example Graceworks and Habitat for Humanity, as well as within the Nashville community and how deeply involved the church is with the Prison Ministry.
What does “We Are About Relationships” mean to you?
It means that we should represent who Jesus is in our relationships with one another.