I was asked to write a little about who I am in story form. This was my effort.
The river that is Dennis Shaw was created by different streams of varying intensity, width, depth and color.
I am a musician, soldier, nursing attendant, holder and practitioner of graduate degrees in business and theology, son, brother, husband, father, and, at one time, a well trained elite level athlete. Several of the streams that formed me storied that hard work and education can overcome almost any life obstacle. Those same education and industriousness streams understood that what might appear to be fords and crossing points for possible entry into those life streams for me might be denied to others based on gender and race. Justice oozes from the springs of a particular familial creek, diluted at times by less justice based waters, but the minerals and nutrients from that spring are rich and have not been easily diminished. Fairness and equity are core values that have been and are part of my story, in the river I am, in the streams that came to me, and the rivers I flow into.
At 62, I continue to be a student and adult learner. I have learned to speak Spanish in the last ten years. I have a UCC pastor who provides me monthly “supervision”. I am blessed by experienced pastors who said “if you need help, call me” and I called. I confess, I reluctantly responded to God’s call into pastoral ministry. My primary problem was one of unworthiness for the task not understanding that my own life story may be of value to the creator of all life stories. As with all of us, our stories provide us unique and specialized wisdom. I have been well equipped to be a current within the flow of this wondrous river called pastoral leadership, but in truth I am probably only a leaf upon that surface moved at one and the same time by the springs, streams and rain that created and sustained me, buoyed by God’s three-fold fullness of Grace.
This position at Stratmoor Hills may be the most meaningful leadership role I will ever be called upon to accept.
It is both intensely exhilarating and profoundly humbling.