Introducing Our New Associate Minister
Mia Michelle McClain
In late November 2018, we began the process of searching for an Associate Minister of Faith Formation and Outreach. We were pleased to receive over 70 qualified applications for the position from a wide diversity of candidates serving in different denominations. Our applicants came from places like NC, SC, GA, VA, MD, NY, NJ, MO, TX, and CO. In February, we narrowed down to our top five candidates and invited them to Charlotte for face-to-face interviews with a team of lay leaders and our Senior Staff. All our top candidates had strong gifts for ministry, but one candidate rose to the top.
We are excited to introduce Mia Michelle McClain as our new Associate Minister. Originally from New Orleans, Mia traveled to Syracuse University in upstate New York for college, where she achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Pursuing a career in drama, Mia moved to Manhattan and earned a Master of Arts with a focus on Art and Public Policy at New York University. While acting and singing off Broadway, and in regional theatre, Mia had an encounter with God that developed into a call for vocational ministry.
Following her calling, Mia attended Union Theological Seminary in NY where she focused on preaching, ethics, and interreligious engagement. During her time at Union, Mia served as a research assistant for the Rev. Dr. Lisa L. Thompson, Professor of Homiletics, who described Mia as “someone with a high emotional IQ, an adaptive response style, the unique ability to think outside the box, and a holistic mind-body-spirit approach, who is constantly learning, and has a heart for making the world more just.” In her last year at Union, Mia won the prestigious Jonathan Kneeland preaching award, and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree.
While in seminary, Mia served as a Chaplain Intern at New York Presbyterian Hospital where she provided pastoral care to patients and their families on a daily basis, led worship for staff, served as an on-call chaplain, and worked with the ethics committee to facilitate equitable care for the hospital system. Her supervisor, Rabbi Kalish, described Mia’s pastoral presence as “a calm, graceful, and patient listener who is attentive to her environment and brings the appropriate emotional tone to her care for others with a deep generosity of spirit.”
Mia complemented her seminary training and chaplaincy work by serving as a worship leader at First Corinthian Baptist in Harlem, NY, a church with 10,000 members. Later, Mia served on staff at Fort Washington Collegiate Church as Director of Children’s Ministries and as acting Associate Minister during an interim period, while the church was searching for a new Senior Minister. In her time at Fort Washington Collegiate, Mia served as a primary teacher, developed bible studies and educational curriculum, coordinated small groups, provided oversight for the faith formation program, and preached on occasion.
She also worked with their social justice ministry to transform spiritual practices into social action in the community, spearheaded a Theology on Tap program, started interfaith prayer and healing services, and led their PRIDE celebrations. Her supervisor, Rev. Bridget Anthony, described Mia as an “incredibly mature, adaptable, unflappable minister who can think quickly on her feet.” Dr. Damaris Whittaker, Senior Minister at Fort Washington, said, “Mia is an outstanding preacher who is committed to justice, and has taught me to have a greater respect for education, to take time to debrief ministry events, and offer self-care and support to people who are engaged in the work of service and social action.”
Mia is a licensed Baptist minister who is currently pursing full ordination in the United Church of Christ. We are incredibly excited for her to join our team as the first African-American in the history of Myers Park Baptist Church to be called to serve on Senior Staff. Her first Sunday with us will be April 14th, and I hope you will welcome Mia to our church community and join me in offering her your love, affirmation, and support as we enter into this new stage of ministry together and take the next step forever forward on our journey of faith.
Rev. W. Benjamin Boswell