“At any moment, I can look up and be wrapped in mountains, creeks and lakes.”
Associate pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, Kelsey Grissom feels fortunate her job has brought her back home. She served churches in Valley and Cahaba Heights before being appointed to Asbury in 2014. Grissom and her husband Lee, who is a Pelham police officer, have two young sons.
Q: What led you to enter the ministry?
A: My mom is a pastor, so the vocation of ministry wasn’t foreign to me…but seeing the “behind-the-scenes” of ministry did not make me want to join up. I thought I would pursue a career in music or writing. My religion professors encouraged my aptitude and convinced me to double-major in music and religion. Before I knew it, they were also urging me to apply to seminary.
Q: Have you had to overcome hurdles or misconceptions with becoming a woman who is fully ordained?
A: Especially in the South, there are many people who, because of their particular brand of Biblical interpretation, believe women shouldn’t be pastors. Still, others are just unaccustomed to seeing a woman in this role and feel uncomfortable with it.
Q: What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: I like that my job requires so many different skills. I was never able to settle on a “favorite subject” in school (I loved them all), and I had a difficult time deciding what career to enter (because I like doing everything). So, a job that allows me to spend large amounts of time reading, writing, public speaking, teaching, managing, developing leadership, talking with people and learning whatever new skills are required for the task at hand is perfect for me.
Q: What all does your job entail?
A: I do a lot of the things most people would expect: I preach the contemporary service here at Asbury every week, visit people in the hospital, officiate weddings and funerals, teach classes and offer counseling. More than anything else, though, ministry is about showing up and walking with people through their lives — whatever that may mean.
Q: What do you love about Shelby County?
A: When I was a student at Oak Mountain Middle School, one of my teachers would regularly remind us to look out the window and notice the colors on the beautiful mountain just in front of the school. I loved the feeling of working hard…and being able to look up and see such beauty. At any moment — whether I am at work or at home raising kids or stuck in traffic, even — I can look up and be wrapped in mountains, creeks and lakes.
Q: Who are three people, living or dead, you would like to meet, and why?
A: I’d like to meet Cleopatra, Benjamin Franklin and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. History has too often cheated Cleopatra of the admiration she is due. She has become an entertainment prop, when in reality she is known to have been remarkably intelligent and one of the most clever statesmen in history. Benjamin Franklin is of course one of the most celebrated men in history, but I’d like to meet him for the same reasons as Cleopatra: He had an extraordinary gift for creating solutions both in every-day life, in small communities and in the world. And I would like to meet Julia Louis-Dreyfus because she is my favorite actress.
Q: If you hadn’t gone into the ministry, what do you think you’d be doing?
A: I think I would be a full-time writer or editor. I’m pretty good at both of those things. Editing is an enormous mental challenge.