Omando Bastian, a Garrett Evangelical-Theological Seminary student, has joined the First Church Staff as our summer Worship in the Park intern.  He is pursuing a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling and in the fall will begin his third of four years in that dual degree program.

When asked what he does in his spare time, Omando chuckles.  Apparently there is not much spare time in the dual degree program, but he does enjoy walking near the lake and stays in touch with his family and friends back home.  Home is Nassau where Omando was an active member of the Methodist Church of the Bahamas. After growing up in Nassau, Omando moved to Tennesee to attend Martin Methodist College (now University of Tennesee Southern), and then to Evanston for seminary.

For a person his age, Omando has an impressive breadth of ministry experience.  He was highly involved as a youth member of his home church.  In college he planned events and coordinated student groups as a chapel intern and became very engaged in camping ministry during the summers.  In seminary, an experience with Clinical Pastoral Education immersed him in the ministry of caring for and accompanying persons in the hospital.  What Omando has not had (until now) is on-the-ground experience inside of local church ministry.

As our Worship in the Park intern, Omando attends weekly worship planning meetings and interacts daily with church staff.  His behind-the-scenes role with Worship in the Park is critical to making the outdoor service possible.  Worship in the Park takes some heavy lifting – literally as well as figuratively.  Each Sunday, carts stacked high with worship materials along with music stands, the keyboard, a sound system, the altar table, chairs for visitors, etc. are pulled two blocks east to Lunt Park, unpacked and set up for worship.  And after worship, everything is packed back up and brought back to the church building.

Omando is not completely new to First Church.  He has attended worship and, as part of a Garrett class, was involved in a cross-cultural Bible study with members of our congregation.  He recalls their thoughtful curiosity and eagerness to learn.  The same could be said of Omando, who appreciates being part of a diverse community and learning from others with different perspectives.

In addition to Omando, the Worship in the Park setup and breakdown team will include Sam Erickson-Ely, a new church member and fellow Garrett student who worked on the WIP team last summer.  Hopefully, a volunteer or two will round out the team most Sundays, as the amount of items that need to be brought down to the park, set up in a time sensitive manner, and later packed up and returned to the church, is daunting.

If you can help Omando with Worship in the Park setup and take down this summer, please sign up according to your availability.