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Volunteers of America approves new ministers for commissioning

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Erin Berge and Tara Cassidy

The church governing board of Volunteers of America has approved 48 individuals to become commissioned as Volunteers of America ministers from across the country. Two candidates are from western Colorado -- Erin Berge, regional marketing director, and Tara Cassidy, admissions and marketing director at Valley Manor Care Center. Berge and Cassidy represent the national health care services division of the organization.

Volunteers of America is a national, faith-based, nonprofit providing various social service programs, housing and health care solutions. The organization is also a national church.

The faith-based mission of the organization embraces nearly all aspects of the Christian faith, reflecting a doctrine of pluralism that affirms the central truth of Christianity, but acknowledges the many paths that have developed to experiencing that truth.

The ministers are drawn from every Christian denomination and are encouraged to serve as active members of their home churches. This understanding of ministry derives from the foundation of Volunteers of America as both a church and an "auxiliary" to the universal Christian church with a special mission of service to those in need in the community.

"I love that we are a church with a mission to uplift and lead others to the word of God," Cassidy said. "I cherish the idea that as a Volunteers of America employee we can pray openly and share our mission with all who come in contact with us. I carry our mission statement close to my heart and I always look for opportunities to share this with our small community here in Montrose."

Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 by Christian social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth. They envisioned a movement dedicated to "reaching and uplifting" the American people and to "bring them to the knowledge and active service of God."

"Sharing our faith-based history and purpose will be one of my top priorities as a new minister for the organization," Berge said. "I look forward to investing my time in continuing to study of the word of God and asking Him to use me to bring His word to the forefront of all the work we do here."

To be accepted as spiritual leaders in the ministry of service, Volunteers of America ministers must meet all requirements for theological study and spiritual formation. The half year qualifying study consists of choosing a minister mentor with whom they feel comfortable discussing their spiritual journey and development, and who they believe is a strong model of the characteristics of a Volunteers of America minister.

The candidates participate in weekly study meetings led by members of the church governing board which include church history, introduction to the Bible, pastoral care and history of Volunteers of America.

Prospective ministers are asked to attend the 2017 Volunteers of America's national conference for orientation, which will take place April 22-26 at the Westin Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Hotel in Irving, Texas. The minister credentialing ceremony will take place during Volunteers of America annual worship service, to be held Sunday, April 23, at the First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, Texas.

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