Church Lady: Area youth share how they received God's calling

Colin Brown, left, and an unidentified girl ham it up for the camera at the Family Church’s “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God” June 24 to 29 vacation Bible school.  Brown was a VBS group leader. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Colin Brown, left, and an unidentified girl ham it up for the camera at the Family Church’s “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God” June 24 to 29 vacation Bible school. Brown was a VBS group leader. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Bishop Frank Dewane lays hands on Joseph Gates during his ordination ceremony at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice on June 29.  Gates was ordained into the ministerial priesthood after years of discernment, spiritual direction and formal education. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Bishop Frank Dewane lays hands on Joseph Gates during his ordination ceremony at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice on June 29. Gates was ordained into the ministerial priesthood after years of discernment, spiritual direction and formal education. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Bishop Frank Dewane, left, poses for a portrait with the newly ordained Rev. Joseph Gates on June 29.  Gates now serves at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish, Venice, Fla. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Bishop Frank Dewane, left, poses for a portrait with the newly ordained Rev. Joseph Gates on June 29. Gates now serves at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish, Venice, Fla. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

You never know when God’s going grab a hold of your heart, and the Church Lady spoke to young Island men with a heart for God and helping others: a newly ordained Catholic priest; a Baptist high school student with his eye on missions; and a nondenominational Christian youth pastor intern.

A PRIEST’S CALLING

The Rev. Joseph Gates is the oldest of eight children. His family has lived on Marco for three years. He grew up in Alabama and Wisconsin and attended Ave Maria College, in Ypsilanti, Mich.; the University of St. Thomas and St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; and St. Vincent de Paul College Major Seminary, Boynton Beach where he received his master of divinity. While a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice he served at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral and Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice. He also assisted at San Marco Parish on Marco Island.

During his time on Marco, he grew close to the community. The charity events hosted by the Knights of Columbus, the Columbiettes and the Catholic Council of Women help support him and other seminarians through school. He was ordained at the Epiphany Cathedral, where he now serves, on June 29.

Parker Osburn, left, and Colin Brown ride a simulated roller coaster as they challenge youngsters to face their fears and trust God at the Family Church’s June 24 to 29 vacation Bible school. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Parker Osburn, left, and Colin Brown ride a simulated roller coaster as they challenge youngsters to face their fears and trust God at the Family Church’s June 24 to 29 vacation Bible school. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Colin Brown shares a biblical message at the Family Church’s vacation Bible school.  Brown hopes to be a missionary some day. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Colin Brown shares a biblical message at the Family Church’s vacation Bible school. Brown hopes to be a missionary some day. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

God got a hold of the 29-year-old Gates’ heart when he was in the second grade and he felt a strong call to the priesthood. The home-schooled youngster went to daily Mass with his mother where he served at the altar. The priest, Fr. Anthony Zogbi, exemplified Jesus’ kind and gentle ways. However, when Gates hit high school he didn’t want to be a priest anymore. He wanted to have a wife and family and to pursue acting and culinary arts. His goal was to be an actor or to own a restaurant. However, he didn’t find joy in acting and the culinary arts weren’t fulfilling.

While at Ava Maria, his mentor Fr. Ed Fride had a presence of Jesus Christ that was “really mind blowing,” explained Gates. He was a down-to-earth gentleman, well educated, yet humble who had an intimate relationship with Christ that was evident in his life.

“Seeing this man as a reflection of Christ in his priesthood reignited the flame in me to be a priest,” he said. “Basically I stopped running away.”

Many times in the Bible, Jesus said come follow me. “You can be a Jonah as long as you want and run away but the Lord will still find you and get a hold of your heart.”

His duties at the Cathedral Parish include daily Mass, Christian education, funerals, visiting hospitals and nursing homes. He also has open office hours and is on-call day or night for emergencies.

For Gates, the best part of being a priest is being with the people and celebrating the sacrament with them. He is thankful for the support and prayers of family and friends through his journey to the priesthood; they have been both encouraging and beneficial.

GOD’S TEENAGE MISSIONARY

God got a hold of 16-year-old Colin Brown’s heart while at a Christian camp last year. His goal at camp was to find God’s plan for his life. Brown was born in Wakefield, Mass. and his family moved to Marco when he was in the third grade where they joined the Family Church. He attended Tommie Barfield, the Marco Island Charter and St. John Neumann Catholic High schools.

While at camp he constantly prayed and read the Bible and one verse, a verse that he had read many times before touched his heart: Matthew 9:37 where Jesus says to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” He prayed with Pastor Casey Nowlin about it. “It was a real spiritual time,” said Brown.

Although he’s still praying about it and seeking God’s guidance for his life he is mission-minded and dreams of spreading the gospel in a Third World country. The high school junior plans to go to Nichols College in Boston to study both business and theology.

Along the way he has had several spiritual mentors. Among them is Pastor Tim Neptune, the church’s former senior pastor. Brown looks to him as a spiritual leader who has always been there for him with solid biblical answers for what was going on in his life.

Capri Christian Church’s summer youth ministry intern Dustin Copper studies his Greek text in his office on July 15.  Cooper prepares Sunday school lessons for children and leads small groups for youth. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Capri Christian Church’s summer youth ministry intern Dustin Copper studies his Greek text in his office on July 15. Cooper prepares Sunday school lessons for children and leads small groups for youth. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Capri Christian Church’s summer youth ministry intern Dustin Copper explains the C3 student ministry.  C3 stands for Capri Christian Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Capri Christian Church’s summer youth ministry intern Dustin Copper explains the C3 student ministry. C3 stands for Capri Christian Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Another mentor is Dena Hatt, Child Evangelism Fellowship ministry coordinator for Collier County who also heads up the children’s ministry at his church. He first met Hatt when he went to the Good News Club when he was in the fourth grade. The Club is one of CEF’s principle outreaches. He feels that she is primarily responsible for his Christian walk. “She’s always on the positive of Christ She’s been an amazing mentor for me,” he said.

He currently helps her with his church’s children’s ministry. He shares the main Bible lesson every other weekend for the kindergarten to fifth graders before they break up into small groups.

“We try to make it fun for the kids,” he said. He has been helping with vacation Bible school since he was in the sixth grade. This year was the first time he was a VBS group leader.

“I’m blessed. My parents and sister have always been there for me,” said Brown. He also feels blessed to be at St. John Neumann. Although he is Baptist and the school is Catholic they help him explore the commonalities and differences in their faiths.

He is especially excited about the “I am Second” program at school headed up by yet another mentor, Sister Brittany Harrison. The group prays, reads the Bible and focuses on making a difference in the lives of others — putting Christ and others before you.

An EARLY CALLING

Our third young man, Capri’s Dustin Cooper also went to Tommie Barfield, Marco Island Charter and St. John Neumann Catholic High schools. He began to attend Capri Christian Church he was 7. However, God got a hold of his heart at a youth camp when he was in the tenth grade. Shortly thereafter his youth pastor left and Cooper was devastated. However, God took this situation and turned it into something good.

Cooper was hungry to learn more about God and the Bible and Ray Mackmin, a lay leader at Capri Christian, stepped forward to lead the youth group. At first Cooper helped setting up chairs. But he soon discovered that as he read Scripture, ideas would explode in his head and he could easily relate the truths of God’s word to those around him.

The 20-year-old is enrolled in Johnson University, Knoxville Tenn. where he is majoring in Bible, Youth Ministry and Preaching/Church Leadership. Although he has a heart for the youth he doesn’t rule out being a senior pastor someday.

Cooper grew up on Capri and his parents own the Pelican Bend restaurant. He feels that the exposure he had on Capri and at the restaurant has given him the ability to relate to all socio-economic groups, ages and races. He would listen to everyone from a downtrodden man with a substance problem to an affluent businessman, both eager to tell the youngster his story.

“Its not about what you have it’s about your relationship with Jesus,” he said. “Seeing the struggles others have gone through and shared. That’s where the call (to go into the ministry) came from.”

While in high school he made it his personal ministry to look after his friends. He played three sports and would lead the team prayers. However, sometimes his friends would tease him and call him Rev. Cooper.

“Just loving on people, that’s what the Bible’s about,” said Cooper. “Looking back I did a lot more good then I realized.”

While at the university he serves at Fellowship Church where he works with the middle school ministry. He is currently a summer intern at Capri Christian Church where he hopes to gain knowledge in growing a youth program and to grow spiritually stronger. He especially enjoys working with Capri’s Youth Pastor Timothy Gardiner.

Next year he hopes to intern at Northpoint Church in Atlanta.

The Family Church’s Pastor Casey Nowlin said, “We would be blessed to see more adults and teens as passionate about Jesus Christ as Colin is.”

The Church Lady believes this also applies to Joseph and Dustin.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 5

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

If Christ had cured a leper, a blind man and made the lame walk, etc; thousands of disease-ridden peasants from all over the Empire would have showed up to ask Christ to heal every ailment from an abscessed tooth to smallpox.

Reports would have circulated to all corners of The Empire and beyond, bringing in tens of thousands more; including the Jewish High Priests and the Roman Ruling Class.

Every Jew would have accepted Christ as his savior after impacted rotted teeth; in need of a present-day root canal; were miraculously cured by the touch of Christ.

The same with the RESURRECTION. It never happened. Occurrences of this too are only valid within its own scripture; meaning that there was no outside clarification from over three dozen recorders and historians at the time.

Ancient contemporary mentions by SECULAR and Jewish historians would have been FILLED with such occurrences along with those in foreign lands.

You see: All the evidence of Christ as a miracle worker comes from internal scripture alone; SUBJECTIVE evidence. Like taking the “word“ of the used car salesman without outside clarification.

The miracles never happened. All these stories were made-up in the century AFTER the death of Christ by religious zealots who exaggerated and lied about the life of Christ in order to get in on the “GROUND FLOOR” of what they saw and hoped would be a new religious movement; to become part of the new “IN CROWD” in order to have power and control over the peasants; a process which the modern clergy continues to this day.

The PICTURE of Christianity was not formed 2000 years ago during the life of Christ.

It was put together like a jig-saw puzzle piece by piece over the centuries; each piece being a product of hallucination, exaggeration, self delusion, and lies.

Christ died like all trouble-makers of his time; with the crows pecking at his eyes, dogs snapping at his feet, and flies laying eggs in his wounds.

If millions of people can be fooled into believing that an angel spoke to Mohammed; then millions can also be fooled into believing that a religious dissident rose from the dead; as millions have also been misled that Yisroel ben Eliezer received revelations from the ancient god of Israel while walking in the forest.

The messianic origin of Christianity is all rubbish.

MIOCENE

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

"While at Ava Maria, his mentor Fr. Ed Fride had a presence of Jesus Christ that was “really mind blowing,”

The next time you readers are in the vacinity of AVE MARIA; stop in and take note of those fine homes and cars.

What has happened to Christianity; the religion which started out "humble" and with "humble" followers.

Ever get the feeling that if Christ ever made an appearance in Ave Maria; that he would feel completely out of place with his head lice, and dressed in his first century rags reeking with sweat and urine.

How DARE Fride say that he had a presence of Christ in Ave Maria!

Christ's first question would be: Why are you Ave Maria people living in these expensive homes, and driving these expensive cars when there are poor amoung you in Naples?

And Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (matthew 19-21)

Why aren't Naples homeless living in Ave Maria?
Why haven’t these prolife Catholics sold their possessions and given the money away to the poor?

From The “Epistle of BARNABAS”: Lightfoot translation: (a father of the catholic church);

"The faithful must bring the homeless into thy house (#3-3), and give to everyone who asks"; AND "not complain about it". (19-11)
These teachings are also reflected in Luke: 14-13.

I have never seen a religion which is filled with more contradictions then is Christianity.

ie. Christians pray in front of Planned Parenthood. Yet they ignore what it says about such action in the Bible:

From the Gospel of Matthew 6:1-6
“and whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray at the street corners so that they may be seen by others.”

MIOCENE

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

"Although he’s still praying about it and seeking God’s guidance for his life he is mission-minded and dreams of spreading the gospel (of Christ).

If we take an Orphaned Child and put him in a seminary; he emerges as a devout Catholic. Take the same child and instead raise him as a Muslim; and he will later spout the Koran. Put the same child in a Christian Missionary School, and he will go out into the world with that silly look of joy on his face to evangelize everyone to Christianity.

NOW: What do ANY of these people actually know about the truth?
They know NOTHING; only the religious software which was programmed into their heads as a child; and today plays round and round in the mind in a never ending loop like a computer virus.

So-called religious “truth” is simply an accident of birth; and if Mel Gibson was switched at birth with Osama bin laden; Gibson would today be spouting the Koran; -as absolute truth.

There is no absolute religious truth.
One billion Muslims believe Mohammed gave them the true word of god. One billion Muslims can’t be wrong.
One billion Catholics believe that Christ gave THEM the true word of god. One billion CATHOLICS can’t be wrong.

It’s all messianic rubbish folks; all rooted in self delusion, exaggeration, hallucination and lies.

Indoctrination of young children into a particular faith who grow into adults who “parrot” scripture; doesn’t change the fact that the “truths” of the so-called three great religions all cancel out to a net value of zero.

Each religion is only valid within its own scripture. Outside of it's own subjective
scripture, each religion reduces quickly to mythical rubbish.

As of this writing; no Christ rose from the dead. No ghost spoke to Moses; and no angel appeared to a desert Arab.

Helping the helpless is a noble thing; but in no way did this concept originate from the gods.

Notice that earthquakes and natural disasters most often strike the poor, the faithful, and those living in the Bible Belt

-while Reno and Vegas, the modern desert cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; remain unscathed.

Religion is nothing more then a "pyramid scheme; as it has been from the beginning; with the guys at the top keeping the indoctrinated masses below writing the checks; while forever snapping at the mythical carrot of eternal salvation.

MIOCENE

1Paradiselost writes:

George Carlin on Religion and God... Again, He hits it out of the park

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfur...

MIOCENE (Inactive) writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

George Carlin on Religion and God... Again, He hits it out of the park

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfur...

Funny. -and interesting where Carlin mentions that if god has a divine plan for all of us; then why pray?

Prayer is therefore useless since god already HAS a plan, and knows what is going to happen ANYWAY.

Here is an interesting take on the "power of prayer":

The HIGH PRIEST former Archbishop Cardinal O Connor of New York held A Prayer Session begging god to preserve the definition of marriage. (before the vote on Gay Marriage was taken in N.Y).

Now, since Gay Marriage PASSED; then god either IGNORED the prayers of the High Priest; in which case god AGREES that Gays should get married;
OR:
Prayer is nothing more then mumbo jumbo heard by nothing.
Choose one.

Certainly, if Gay Marriage DIDN'T pass, the first thing the Cardinal would have said was: “The Lord Heard Our Prayers”
Yet one will not hear the Archbishop now state that god APPROVES of gay marriage.

So here the Archbishop plays by the rule: heads I win; tails I lose nothing
-and the faithful keep taking the bait; filling the pews, and writing the checks.

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