How I Got to Somerville: Connecting the Dots
Rev. Brent Porterfield
I have reflected on what a biography might say. A cynical friend of mine once said "all autobiography is fiction." Maybe that is true in varying degrees so I am careful as I describe myself in a way that those who are only slightly acquainted with me now may have an introduction perhaps verified in knowing me better.
How to tell of oneself? The facts? Age. Status. Education. Self identification. Affinities.
Born in Missouri and raised until age 14 in an Army family I have been shown a lot. My mother, Joy, and my father, William live in Florida now. We traveled as military families do. I have a sister about to retire from teaching in Florida and a brother that lives with me from time to time who is a traveling dialysis registered nurse.
Melissa is my wife. Missy has two sons, Nickolai and Mikhail that live with us when not is school in Dallas, Texas.
My two daughters live far from me, Mary, is in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Ryan O'Connor and Mary have two daughters, Anna and Mira. Emily lives in Dallas, Texas. Her husband, Carlo Rich and Emily have a daughter, Eliza and in late June a son, Liam was born.
Having been twice widowed faith in God has been important. The mother of my daughters, Rebecca, was a teacher. We were married 27 years before breast cancer took her in 2003. My second wife, Valerie, was an attorney and we were married briefly before a brain tumor claimed her life.
I graduated from College High School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and stayed to go to the University there, Southeast Missouri State. I was not an ideal student but I learned a little.
I've worked in a variety of settings, among a variety of people.
My faith was formed largely without formal denominational influence. I was baptized in the United Methodist Church as an adult. I was blessed to be a part of two wonderful United Methodist congregations as a call to ministry became clear.
If I claim gifts for ministry perhaps my greatest ability is to bring people together. I don't unite crowds but in my life I have made many friends and had some great adventures introducing leaders to one another.
Preparing for worship leadership is the center of my life now and I enjoy it best.
Other ministry roles have demanded other expressions of pastoral leadership. I was for a time a minister on a college campus. Another few years found me leading a social agency where budgets and staff demands drew me farther from the congregation and pastoral role than I wanted to be.
I am a pastor now. And blessed to be serving in a community I look forward to sharing my life with.
Peace and Grace, BRENT