Friday, March 7, 2014

Shoemaker: My new life is time of healing

It's been just over a year since the Rev. Steve Shoemaker left Myers Park Baptist Church.

Amid tears and applause, he gave a final sermon, then walked away from the stresses of pastoring a 2,200-member congregation and into a 90-day out-patient recovery program.

Before his exodus, Shoemaker had sought treatment at a Maryland facility for anxiety and depression and admitted “self-medicating with alcohol.”

So where is he these days? Just about everywhere.

He’s theologian-in-residence at Queens University of Charlotte, where he’s scheduled to give the school’s annual Witherspoon Lecture this month.

He’s a visiting assistant professor of religion at Johnson C. Smith University, where he’ll give the Lyceum Lecture next month.

And at Davidson College, he's giving lectures, staging an alumni seminar and meeting with students interested in going into the clergy.

I asked him about life after Myers Park Baptist.

In an email, Shoemaker began his answer with gratitude for his 14 years serving “one of the most remarkable congregations in our country.”

Then he wrote: “A minister in need of healing is in a tough spot. Can they heal on the job? I would hope so, but not always. For me, this year is proving to be a healing one and I am loving my association with (the three universities) and am benefiting from intense personal work.”

Details on his lectures:

  • 7 p.m., March 18, in Queens University’s Ketner Auditorium (Sykes Building), he’ll speak about “Christian Faith and the Care of the Earth: The Witness of Wendell Berry.” Berry is a poet, essayist and Kentucky farmer.
  • 6:30 p.m., April 8 at JCSU’s Biddle Hall Auditorium, he’ll speak on “Gay Equality, Moral Mondays and God-talk: Witnessing Religious Values in the Public Square.”

-- Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

The former Queens College traditional name sounds so much more legit than this new "university" one.

Change it back.

Anonymous said...

It's been Queens University of Charlotte for 12 years or more now. Don't think it'll be changing back.

On the topic of the article, kudos to Rev. Shoemaker for staying engaged and healing in public.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my second semester in the Human Services Technology program at CPCC. One of the first lessons we are taught by all of the instructors and professors at CPCC is anyone who is a human services professional (and this includes the clergy)must first heal and take care of themselves mentally and physically. The helping professions are very demanding. You are trying your very best to help everyone you encounter. Anyone in the helping profession must have their own psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, etc. Congratulations to Rev. Shoemaker for taking the steps to help himself and heal.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Steve made a courageous choice in leaving such a prominent position, but it was the right choice. It's always a challenge to care for yourself when your mission is caring for others, and even more complex when many people look at you expecting to hear the voice of God.

FamCare said...

I agree; I dont think it will be changing anytime soon, if ever.

skip bo said...

Oh so he left because he became an alcoholic... ok that makes sense. "Depression" and "Alcoholism" are two very different things. But one sure does sound better dunnin it?