Welcome, Pastor Melissa A. Tidwell !

On November 13, 2016, the congregation voted to elect Melissa Tidwell as our new pastor.  We are delighted to welcome Melissa; we feel she brings strengths of vision and creativity that will help us live into the hopes we have for our church.

You can read Pastor Melissa's blog here.  


More about Melissa Tidwell

The nominating committee was particularly glad to recommend Melissa, because her interests are a great match for our church vision as expressed in our mission statement. In her application she stated:

I have consistently been drawn to two kinds of ministry, one being compassionate service, like feeding the hungry, and the other being spiritual formation, like teaching prayer practices. These present a balanced life in Christ, reaching out and reaching in.

She also noted that she seeks a smaller church where it is possible to really engage with the members in doing this work.  We look forward to working together with her as we continue to "share our journey with God in words and deeds."



I was born in Augsburg, Germany, where my father was stationed with the US Army. My family lived in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and the Panama Canal Zone during those years, and I learned to value flexibility, curiosity, and diversity from this experience. As an adult, I have continued to travel and explore and have lived in New York, Atlanta and Nashville.

For over fifteen years I worked in the religious publishing field, where I was a copywriter, marketing executive and editor. I served as editor of Alive Now magazine, one of the publications of The Upper Room, and worked on the Companions in Christ small group curriculum. In 2010, after the economic downturn forced job cuts I began to reevaluate my work, doing freelance work and publishing a book, Embodied Light: Advent Reflections on Incarnation. During that period I began to realize that a call to ministry that I had explored 20 years earlier was still tugging at me, and I enrolled in Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. I graduated in 2015, after being named the recipient of the Harold J Riddle Award for Pastoral Care and the Creation Care Sermon prize.

Since graduation I have been in the Nashville area, doing supply preaching in a variety of ministry settings in small and medium sized churches, urban and rural. I also work part-time in the education department of the Scarritt Bennett Center where I contribute to a weekly jazz vespers service and lead workshops and retreats.

I am the middle of three sisters and have an adult daughter, Ama Gozo McIntosh, who lives near Nashville. Coming to Xenia would be another grand adventure for me in this journey of ministry, and I am hopeful about the way this chapter is unfolding. 

Excerpt from Melissa's Advent book, Embodied Light

It seems remarkable, inconceivable that God chose flesh as the avenue for expressing divinity. Why flesh? Flesh is not easy. Flesh hurts, it has to struggle to be born, it spends years throwing up and falling down, flesh spikes temperatures and catches chicken pox, flesh gets acne and asthma, flesh gets invaded by flesh eating bacteria. Flesh fails. Flesh forgets, flesh falls prey to cancer and dementia, to brain tumors and heart attacks, flesh wears out eventually, and then flesh disintegrates, and after a while is gone forever from the face of the earth. Flesh is feeble and finite and forgotten. 

And yet God, who could have anything God wanted, chose flesh.