About Rev. Bower
From my childhood in Roswell, Georgia to today I see God's hand in my life through the nurturing care of loving parents, dedicated teachers, incredible mentors and faithful friends.
After graduating from Roswell High School, I set off with the Hope Scholarship to Georgia Southwestern State University with a strong desire to be a high school history teacher. As my faith grew through college ministries at GSW's Pres House, the Holy Spirit began to gently tug me towards church ministry. As the process of discernment continued I joined First Presbyterian of Americus, Georgia and applied to Princeton Theological Seminary to pursue my Master of Divinity Degree.
Every step since that moment has felt like a confirmation that God was directing my life with a mightier hand than my own. My time at Princeton was precious and sacred, filled with incredible people who broadened my faith and grounded my knowledge and love of Scripture. Numerous seminary programs helped to show me the depth of God's powerful love, such as my summer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. That love is what carried me through my second year of seminary, when I lost both of my parents: my father to suicide and my mother to an infection, four months to the day from one another.>
This experience turned my world upside down, but it also taught me how to pray without words and to grieve with hope.
During seminary I also met Joshua Bower, the love of my life. My marriage has shown me how to fight kindly, love deeply and be truly committed to something beyond yourself. We have been mightily blessed with two children: Cade Joshua, age 6 and Dianna Margaret, age 4.
Joshua accepted the call to First Presbyterian in Whiteville, North Carolina in January 2006 and I took a call to Lake Waccamaw Presbyterian in September. I have profoundly loved pastoring a small congregation in a small town with a mighty spirit and desire to serve their Lord. In my nine years there we have grown both in numbers and in sheer energy. Joshua was called to First Presbyterian Albany in May of this year.
As the years have passed with numerous Bible Studies, baptisms, marriages, funerals, session retreats, leadership challenges, mission trips to Mexico, personality conflicts, a complete sanctuary restoration, and even disagreements over where to keep the ice cream scooper in the church kitchen - I have been reminded over and over how the church really is one big family. My heart beats for this family, so I am continually being stretched in what it means to live and love in community.
I have not found perfection in my personal family or the church family, but what I have found is abiding love and constant hope. I am excited about my growth in Jesus Christ and serving God as a pastor, wife, mother, sister, friend, and community member. God has constantly been at work in my life and I am eager for the next adventure God has in store.
Statement of Faith
I, Sommer Fulmer Bower, believe and affirm the following:
Since the beginning God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have been in an equal relationship with one another as one sovereign God.
God formed the universe including the heavens, earth and all living things. Our Creator has not stopped creating and continues to be in relationship with its creation each and every day. God created all things good. Humanity sinned, destroying its right relationship with God. But, God's love could not be set aside so easily. When I sing the hymn, This is My Father's World, I can easily sing, "though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." So God began a covenantal relationship with the people of Israel.
Jesus was the fulfillment of God's relationship with Israel. Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary and perfect in every way, was truly human and truly divine. ln Christ, God came and dwelt among us. Jesus preached and embodied the kingdom of God and came to restore and reconcile our relationship with God. In expression of God's love to the world, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The light overcame the darkness, the good won over the evil, and death was not the end. Jesus rose from the grave to eternal life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our faith walk. In response to God's grace, we dedicate our lives by giving thanks to God, sharing the good news and acting as Christ-like examples in the world.
The Holy Spirit works in the lives of sinners to lead them to faith. The Holy Spirit inspires individuals and the church daily to live faithfully as citizens of the Kingdom of God, continuing to work out God's purpose on earth. Too many in our world feel alone... too many see no hope. But, though Christ, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit as a companion. The Spirit continues to breathe new life into believers in Christ, making us truly alive and giving us the strength to choose the narrow path.
God is revealed to the world through the Old and New Testaments, the sacred, unique, and written infallible Word of God. Scripture teaches followers who God is and how to live.
The church is the body of Christ and its livelihood is to continue Christ's mission that He started in the world by being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. We are all called to bear witness to Jesus. Our sacraments, (Baptism and Lord's Supper), are a sign and seal of the amazing grace that liberates us from sin and points to our identity as God's children.
We find strength for life's journey in Jesus Christ, the Communion of Saints, and through the support of our Christian family. For, I affirm, "Nothing in life nor in death can separate us from the love of God." Thanks be to God.