A Preacher for a Father, and a Nurse for a Mother
By Madison Irving
Hands shaking, staring out at almost two hundred Cumberland Presbyterian Youth Camp participants, Anna Sweet gave her first sermon. Although she had been writing the sermon for two weeks, the night before she still felt it needed changing. As she spoke to the young people that day, her well-written speech morphed into a sermon with a life of its own. When she finished, she stepped off the stage and immediately headed for her room. She felt so overwhelmed by the whole experience she felt the need… to shower.
This experience didn’t stop Anna from continuing to speak in front of large crowds, but she has gotten over her need to shower immediately following her sermons. Growing up with a preacher for a father and a nurse for a mother, Anna used to imagine what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I remember never being able to see myself as a nurse” she explained. But as she watched her father preach at Beaver Creek C.P. she decided it was easier to imagine herself in service to the church. Although Anna never set out to be a preacher she knew that she was drawn to church work because she truly loved it. Involvement in youth groups and participating on planning committees for church camps has always been very enjoyable for her since she could be on both sides of worship.
Always a fan of school, Anna loves the ministerial classes offered at Bethel University, where she is now a junior. She is very involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and never misses Chapel. One day after a communion service, Bethel Chaplain Anne Hames grabbed her by the arm and simply asked her, “You know you are called to the ministry, right?” Anna explained this moment as sort of a “duh” moment. She called her father later bursting with excitement and told him the news. He then proceeded to question her kind-heartedly. Moments after they hung up he called her back to tell her how excited he was for her. Anna Sweet’s journey had begun.
Chaplain Hames attends a church in Puryear, in between Paris and Kentucky, named Mill Creek Cumberland Presbyterian. Mill Creek C.P. has a small congregation and they only have ministerial students to preach at their church. Chaplain Hames brings a few ministerial students, and the church decides who is a good fit for them. Anna was chosen in October 2010 to preach every Sunday at Mill Creek C.P. She has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity she has been given. Public speaking was always a forte of hers and writing sermons comes easily to her.
“My favorite part about the sermon is not the delivery but the preparation.” Anna clarifies. She enjoys spending hours reading scripture. But that moment she steps up to the podium she senses a feeling of something or someone else deep inside her taking the reins and leading her.
Anna Sweet’s future is wide open. She hasn’t made any concrete decisions about what type of ministerial work she will be doing but she is very excited to see what’s to come. After taking the classes and getting the experience she has so many opportunities waiting for her, and her Bethel family cannot wait to see what’s next.