A sacred place

I grew up involved in Sunday School and Youth Group; it was a foundational staple in my life. I can remember so many different touch-points that shaped my image of self, my community, and God. It was a genuine second home for me. A safe, sacred place where I was known.  

At some point in my youth-hood at that church, the lead minister, Reverend Ken, sent me a letter encouraging me to consider entering the ministry. I carried this mustard seed through graduation, and at the end my first year of college I met with him several times to discuss the pathway. In the end, he and I both agreed I was being called to public schools as a form of ministry, which is where the first 18 years of my career kept me.

 I loved being a teacher.

I was honored with the position of standing and walking with kids in their journey through becoming a teenager and young adult. Whenever I was asked “What do you teach?” my answer was always “Humans with a side of English.” My students were my own, equally and without exception. There is no privilege greater or compliment broader than when a youth invites you to enter their world.

Every couple of years or so I’d mull over a more formal ministry. I began attending All Saints’ soon after moving to North Carolina in 2004 and was an adult leader with the youth under Father Brian Morgan. It was a dynamic and powerful time. When he moved away, All Saints’ began the journey of solidifying the leadership of our youth. With each new transition, I found myself examining my own career choices. Was this the right time for me? Was I being called to this ministry? Is this a leap of faith I can take, much less ask my family to take?

This summer, as I tried to shake off the residue of teaching in a post-pandemic school environment and rally myself for the coming fall, I remembered the story of the drowning man. The story is essentially this: a man keeps waiting for God to save him from drowning. In the end the man dies. Upon entering God’s presence, the man asks why God never saved him. God told him, “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter! What more did you want?!”  As I grieved, like many of us, the loss of our previous director, and wondered about the future of our youth program yet again, I heard the distant sound of propeller blades. God was sending me a helicopter.

Reverend Nancy once told me, “If it doesn’t feel like peace, it isn’t God.” Leaving a career after 18 years is scary stuff. Talking with my family about the lifestyle changes that taking this role would incur carried anxiety of the unknown. Yet amidst every unanswered question there was a prevailing peace.

I am tremendously grateful that All Saints’ has given me the opportunity to serve our church in a more direct role. I am excited to combine my passion and expertise with a community I already call home. I am honored that you, the parents and ALL the people of All Saints’, are trusting me with the sacred role of entering the spaces of our children. 

To quote one of my most cherished children’s books, “Oh! The places we will go!”

Tiffany Fulton