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New Students, Fall 2003
later Christian journey:
Michael A. McKillip of North Wales, PA, had no life-long vision to become a pastor. "I was raised in a non-religious household and wasn’t even baptized in the church until I was 36 years old," he says. "In 1988, my wife, Dolores and I realized something was missing in our lives." They began attending Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. Michael first heard the call from God to serve professionally about 10 years ago while attending an assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. "I did my best to ignore it," he recalls. Once again he heard the call, though, while visiting residents of Betak, a now closed treatment facility for people with AIDS. Pastor Joseph Tursi was influential in those years, he says, and interim pastor Cynthia Fazzini believed enough in his faith and commitment to encourage him to be a lay preacher. Pastor Fazzini urged Michael to pursue ordination. When Pastor Christopher Markert came to Prince of Peace, the preaching opportunities continued for Michael, and after the tragedy of September 11, Michael says "I was challenged with preaching the gospel of forgiveness." He says God was no longer tapping him on the shoulder, but "smacking me on the head." The encouragement continued after he joined a congregation closer to home, St Peter’s Lutheran Church in North Wales. For a while, he hesitated. Going to seminary would mean giving up a successful career as a software development manager. But "God showed me that it would be possible – savings, life insurance value, retirement funds!" Michael also recalls that the blessing of tithing was introduced to him during a synod assembly. "Twice during our tithing years I have been the victim of job elimination," he says. "Never once has God failed to pour down and overflowing blessing. God will not fail us now."
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