Brewi becomes first female pastor of Verbena UMC

Published 4:19 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The new pastor of Verbena United Methodist Church, Barbara Brewi, is the church’s first female pastor since its founding in 1871.

Her first day was July 2.

” My mother was the first female principal in Chilton County, so I know that going in as the first you prove yourself, you have to prove that you are up to the job,” Brewi said. “One of the nice things … is that I know a lot of the people in the church. I’ve grown up with them, so that helps a lot. ”

Brewi is excited about the new position.

After 45 years in ministry, this will be Brewi’s first time serving as the sole lead pastor of a church.

“I’ve always worked at churches that had church staffs, so this is the first one where I am the church staff,” Brewi said.

Most recently, Brewi was the associate pastor at Clanton UMC for three years. Brewi worked with the children in choir, dramatic presentations and other worship arts. Before that, Brewi worked in Christian Education and was a chaplain at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Tuskegee for twelve years.

Brewi has visited Verbena UMC a few times through the years.

“Verbena is a very unique church. The congregation is very well educated,” Brewi said. “It might be a smaller part of the county, but it is filled with very well educated world traveling people.”

When Brewi felt God leading her into ministry as a senior in high school, she thought it would be as a full-time music minister.

“Coming into the pastorate like this was the last thing I thought I would ever do,” Brewi said. “I grew up in a denomination where that was not the norm. It was actively frowned upon.”

She said it was her UMC district superintendent that encouraged her to step out of chaplaincy into pastoring  four years ago.

Brewi has a bachelor’s degree in music, a master’s degree in Christian education and a Master of Divinity.

Brewi will continue to live in Clanton while the Verbena parsonage undergoes a historical restoration.

“We are restoring it back to its original state as close as we can get it and I’m really looking forward refurbishing and getting the church’s parsonage ready,” Brewi said.

She estimated that the building was close to 100 years old.