Your Gift Matters: Pastor Costella Forney
Your gift matters! Your gift heals! You make redemption and Jesus real. Your compassion makes disciples – and even ministers! Because of you, Pastor Costella Forney can share her story of transformation.
Incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women since 2001, Costella spent her time developing a close relationship with the chaplain – who was serving there because of your amazing generosity. Costella participated in programs like Baptism class, Church Choir, Bible Study and received pastoral counsel. As a tutor in the WorkWise program, Costella worked diligently on her life and spirit. Her strong faith was so evident that her chaplain invited Costella to become a member of the Worship Leadership Team where she served the “inside” church for many years. Costella shares a little of her testimony as she managed the fears accompanying release.
“God took care of it all. That is my testimony. Just a sample. As I was getting released in June of 2016, I had three big practical fears. My first fear was actually walking out of the gate. In the back of my mind I kept thinking my legs would give… my knees would buckle… so overwhelmed that I couldn’t take it. But, God took care of it. An officer talked to me, calmed me, made it better. My second fear was probation. What would it involve? When I went, the lady gave me a form to fill out and I turned it back in. She told me orientation is on Wednesday – and that was it. I was like, “That’s it?” Yes. That was it. God took care of it! For eight months I reported – and then I was put on Shadow Track. My third fear was driving. I was petrified. Things had changed so much since I had driven. The thought of taking the test shot my nerves. But, I studied online and passed both tests with 100%. I got a car in December (another God-gift) and I have been driving ever sense – just recently getting on the interstate! God took care of it! God has been with me all the way. The things I learned in prison from my chaplain and the volunteers, I have applied. Whatever my fears, God is with me. God took care of it. God has been so good to me.”
Invited to preach at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg, Mother’s Day 2017, her call was evident. Costella studied and worked as a lay-servant and had taken classes all along. This year the District Superintendent surprised Costella calling her in to speak with him. Smiling, he said, “It isn’t every day that someone is appointed the pastor of the church where they grew up.” And with that, her call and her job as pastor were sealed! After licensing class in May of 2019, Costella will become a licensed local pastor for the United Methodist Church! In the meantime, Pastor Costella Forney is sharing her living testimony while serving as pastor to her beloved John Wesley UMC!
Your gifts to GraceInside supported Costella in her journey by giving her a GraceInside Chaplain. The Holy Spirit is alive and well on the inside. Your church inside is growing disciples and ministers who will serve our community by serving God.
Please, help. Many more like Costella are waiting. What will they learn? Who will they become? With your help, they can become servants of God! Won’t you join in the blessings? Please make a commitment to help Jesus’ mission behind bars today!
J. Randy Myers and your GraceInside family