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Drew Theological School Adjunct Professor on Reopening Ministry in the Community

The Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams is the pastor of Bethel African Methodist Church

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The Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams with wife Teresa Williams T'15

July 2022 – Faith leaders across the globe continue to reimagine what ministry looks and feels like in a post-pandemic world and adapt accordingly.

The Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams, Drew Theological School adjunct professor in the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program, knows this too well.

Willams leads the Bethel African Methodist Church (AME) in Morristown, New Jersey. Founded over 180 years ago, the church has a rich history rooted in traditions. 

As Williams teaches his DMin students, faith leaders must be prepared to confront the challenges of our ever-changing landscape and become better equipped to respond with innovative and courageous leadership that will inspire others and foster change in their communities and beyond.

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The Bethel AME community in action.

Williams is committed to a vision of ministry that extends outside the doors of Bethel AME. Through pastoral care and visits and community outreach, Williams is focused on helping those in need. “This defines how I do ministry,” said Williams. “It defines the core elements—practice, teach, preach.”

Like many congregations, the pandemic has prompted Bethel AME to create a virtual worship space for the long term. 

Partnering with Morristown Habitat for Humanity, Williams worked to create hybrid worship opportunities for his parishioners to increase congregation engagement, sound clarity, and intelligibility.

But online and hybrid worship means reduced in-person capacity, which can make an impact on much-needed donations. “Do not try to fund ministry with worship,” cautions Williams. “Ministry is funded by our members and the community we serve. As long as we’re doing ministry, we will survive.”

“I love my neighbors so much, there’s a reward in that,” said Williams. “The community values our work.”

NEWS FROM DREW THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL