News and Views

Schlieckert named Annapolis DS

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By Melissa Lauber

In 1921, the Rev. Elmer Ross Andrews received his quarterly conference license to preach in the Evangelical United Brethren Church. A century later, his great-granddaughter, the Rev. Sarah Schlieckert is being appointed to serve as the superintendent of the Annapolis District.

 Faith and leadership run deep in Schlieckert’s blood. She is a fourth-generation pastor – following the Revs. Elmer, David, and Rick Andrews. Her grandfather, David, was the first superintendent of the Frederick District.

 But Bishop LaTrelle Easterling appointed Schlieckert to serve the Annapolis District because of her own unique gifts and leadership abilities.

 “The uncertainty of the times ahead requires leaders who are certain of their commitment and grounding. Rev. Schlieckert has demonstrated her profound love of God and God’s people through her own deep discipleship, her ability to lead across differences, and by welcoming all without reservation,” Bishop Easterling said.

 “Sarah has earned the respect of her colleagues who have elected her to serve as a delegate to two general and jurisdictional conferences, to lead a district committee on ministry, and to serve on the Board of Ordained Ministry. Her gifts have continually made room for her,” said the bishop.

Schlieckert imagines her pastoral ancestors would remind her to stay as healthy as she can so that she can serve people well, to remember her calling to ministry, and to embrace the practical knowledge that “the church is a place where you will see brokenness—it’s not immune from that. But it is also a place where we get to live into and live out God’s grace, love and mercy together.”

 As a “pastor’s kid,” she learned that the church is a place of “challenges and blessings,” and her parents also put certain literal and figurative boundaries around her and her siblings so that they didn’t feel like they had to fit into anyone else’s mold.

 From her family, but also from clergy and lay mentors along the way, she has grown into a pastor known and admired for her authenticity. It’s one of the words her husband, Chris, who is Conference Director of Retreat and Camping Ministries, uses to describe her.

 “I’ve seen the danger of trying to live two lives,” Sarah Schlieckert said. “It is exhausting to try to be one way in the ministry and a different way personally,” she said. “I really don’t have the energy or the time to devote to trying to maintain different versions of me.”

 Presently, this version of her is intently focused on healing and wholeness.

“I value healthy relationships," she said. "I value physical health and mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Striving for health in all those kinds of ways requires a constant commitment.”

 That word “striving” is an important one for Schlieckert.

“I hate being stagnant. I hate being stuck,” she said. Over the years she’s learned to strive to identify and find that healthier place and to work toward it. “For me,” she said, “life is about constant change and development.”

 She brings this same sense of commitment to her work. Being strategic, proactive, and having a plan are hallmarks of her leadership. She is also dedicated to helping the local church, district, and denomination preserve what is best, divest from ineffective bureaucracies when they get in the way of ministry, and promote health and wholeness for clergy, laity, and churches.

Being a mother to Anna, 10, and Mary, 7, is a central part of Schlieckert’s life.  Since they were infants, the girls attended church meetings and worship services -- from napping in her arms at General Conference to occasionally reading a Scripture passage during worship -- living their faith is part of family life.  Crafting a church for her daughters to thrive in motivates Schlieckert.

 “I am going to do everything I can so that they can grow into what God has created them to be. I want my children to grow to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and I want them to be excited that they are. And so, I feel the responsibility – as a mom, and as a pastor, and now as a district superintendent – not only for my children but for all kids growing up in our churches, that they can be proud followers of Jesus Christ.”

 Bishop Easterling said she is excited to have Schlieckert’s unique and confident voice in Conference leadership.

 “I am committed to including younger voices in leadership. The church professes to want the ideas, creativity, and vision of our younger members but does not always give them a seat at the table. Sarah’s presence at the Cabinet table actuates that profession,” Easterling said.

 Currently, Schlieckert is using that voice to pray for individuals, churches, and the denomination, that they know healing and wholeness.

“That is a more faithful desire than to name or try to lay out the tangible path of what should be,” Schlieckert said.

 She also prays one of her father’s favorite prayers by Thomas Merton, which one of her clergywomen colleagues framed for her. It hangs in her hallway and begins with, “my Lord God I have no idea where I'm going I don't see the road ahead of me and I cannot know for certain where it will end.”

The prayer goes on, Schlieckert said, with the idea that we must go to God with humility. It says, in part: “The fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.”

 Schlieckert will be following the Rev. Rebecca Iannicelli as superintendent of the Annapolis District. Her appointment begins July 1.


Malcolm Feb 15, 2021 8:45am

So happy for you and our conference.

Hal and Ann Feb 15, 2021 11:06am

Congratulations to you on you and your new appointment and our deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your grandmother.

Thomas C. Ellis Feb 15, 2021 11:22am

How is her last name pronounced, respectfully asking.

Sarah Schlieckert Feb 15, 2021 11:32am

Thomas Ellis--that's a good question :-) My maiden name (Andrews) was certainly a bit more straightforward :-) My last name is pronounced: sh-lick-ert (first two sounds as one syllable, with the ie making a soft "i" sound) Thank you for asking!

Erin Straley Feb 15, 2021 11:47am

Congratulations! I am blessed and privileged to have worshiped and served in one of Sarah’s previous churches. The Annapolis District is lucky to have her!

Mark and Debbie Mooney Feb 15, 2021 1:25pm

We always knew that we would see you there someday. Indeed, the churches and pastors of your District will be blessed by your heart and many gifts. I know your Dad would have been so proud! (Not to mention the rest of your family and friends!) Our thoughts and prayers are with you as your ministry takes you to another journey in your calling.

Al Hammer Feb 15, 2021 1:32pm

Congratulations Sarah! Blessings as I know you’ll do an awesome job! Praying for you and your family.

Amanda McMurtrey Feb 15, 2021 2:23pm

Congratulations Sarah! I look forward to working with you as a DS in our district and on DCOM. My congregation will be holding you in our prayers during this time of transition.

Frankie Revell Feb 15, 2021 2:56pm

This is great news and I'm very proud for you, Sarah.

Ginger Atchisoin Feb 15, 2021 3:04pm

The Annapolis District's win is PUMC's loss. While we heartily congratulate Pastor Sarah we will sorely miss her.

Paul W. Johnson Feb 15, 2021 4:59pm

Congratulations Sarah! This is wonderful news. Your quick wit, multi-faceted leadership skills and engaging spirit-led personality will be a blessing to the Annapolis District.

Jeff Paulson Feb 15, 2021 5:45pm

Congratulations my sister in Christ! You are and will be a great leader and D.S. Praise God!

Mary Lee Quade Feb 16, 2021 7:19pm

Congratulations and so happy for you. Know you will be an awesome DS.

Danny Pembamoto Feb 17, 2021 1:33am

Congratulations Pastor Sarah for your new appointment. May the Lord our God lead you.

Peggy Ireland Feb 18, 2021 9:37am

Congratulations on your new appointment, Pastor Sarah. I am sure the Lord will continue to use you in a powerful way as you serve the people on the Annapolis District. Our prayers and love are with you.

Martin P. Brooks Feb 19, 2021 12:33pm

Congratulations, and I look forward to meeting you! Pastor Martin P. Brooks of Magothy UMC of Pasadena

Robert Wellman Feb 19, 2021 3:59pm

Congratulations Sarah. As I served with you on DCOM, I felt in my heart that one day you would be a presiding Elder, a superintendent. Prayers for your guiding spirit as you lead.

Joan Johns Feb 19, 2021 11:31pm

Congratulations Pastor Sarah on your new appointment. You will be missed at PUMC.

Janet Ferrell Feb 22, 2021 1:53pm

February 22, 2021
Dear Pastor Sarah:
Praise be to God for such a wonderful position you will be holding (in honor of
the those who went before you) May God always be there for you and the church.

Ken E Brown Feb 23, 2021 2:44pm never told me that David Andrews was your father! He was my first DS when I was appointed to Mt. Zion UMC in Martinsburg back in 1974. He was the only DS I ever had who once a year made a pastoral visit to all his pastors. I hope you will consider doing that yourself, starting next July. I'm so proud to be your friend!

Ken E Brown Feb 23, 2021 2:48pm

Oops! meant to write "grand-father."

Rev. Herbert W. Watson, JR. Feb 24, 2021 1:14pm

Greetings and blessings to you! I am looking forward to greetings you in your new appointment as the Annapolis District Superintendent. I know you bring the gifts that God has blessed you with to enable this district to continue to grow as we continue to make disciples and serve the needs of the people of this district.