Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry features an interview with a fabulous minister on this blog. Today, we are thrilled to interview Jamie Washam. Jamie IS what a minister looks like!
Jamie, tell us about your ministry journey and the places and ways you have served and are serving.
I grew up a Southern Baptist in Texas, and one of my first unofficial ministry positions took place during the summer between college semesters when I served as a camp counselor in Colorado. Divinity School took me to Massachusetts, where I became a part of the American Baptist Churches, USA. During my studies, I worked at Old Cambridge Baptist Church leading Christian Education for children. That church ordained me in 2001. Following graduation, I became one of the early Transitioning into Ministry fellows at Hyde Park Union Church in Chicago. In that capacity, I began a chaplaincy program at Jackson Park Hospital on the south side of Chicago and apprenticed to a variety of pastoral roles within the congregation.
In 2003, Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin called me as their pastor, where I had the joy of serving for the next twelve years. While there, I continued to be involved in denominational life, acting as junior high camp pastor at Camp Tamarack and filling different roles on committees at the regional level, including a stint as region president. The First Baptist Church in America called me as their 37th settled minister in 2015. Since being in Rhode Island, my community and denominational participation continues locally and nationally. Most recently, I began serving on the board of the American Baptist Home Missions Society, where I function as the board president. Youth camp still takes priority each summer when I take my turn as camp pastor at our local American Baptist campgrounds, Camp Canonicus.
What have been your greatest sources of joy in ministry?
I love being invited into liminal spaces in people’s lives; it is such a privilege to midwife people through transitions of life and death, sorrow and joy. It is a wonder to me that I get paid to do what I would want to do in my free time, anyway.
What have been the greatest challenges you have encountered in ministry?
Often the work of ministry is intangible, it can be difficult to assess the results of our days. Perhaps this is why I am all the more prone to savor the velvet softness of a fresh human or the cup of tea with a church mother in her kitchen. I keep a shoe box of encouraging letters I’ve received over the years and bring it out on days when the work seems overwhelming. This serves to recalibrate my perspective and spirit in the context of the larger work that God is doing through and around me.
What is the best ministry advice you have been given?
Love your people.