Carden is first female pastor at Columbiana UMC

Published 4:32 pm Monday, February 7, 2011

The Rev. Lori Carden in her office at Columbiana United Methodist Church. (Special/Phoebe Robinson)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

The Rev. Lori Carden is the new senior pastor — and first female pastor — at Columbiana United Methodist Church.

Her reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

Carden grew up in Sylacauga and married her high school sweetheart after graduation from Sylacauga High School. Husband Tom is a corporate pilot, and they have two children: Alex, age 23, and Emily, age 18.

Pastor Lori, as she likes to be called, graduated from Jacksonville State University with plans to become a teacher. She has always been very active in church with the youth and volunteering anywhere there was a need, whether it is in the church office or helping with programs.

To her, success is doing what God wants you to do. She remembers when she was called to become a minister.

“I vividly remember it was a Tuesday night,” said Carden. “I was in prayer, and I felt the call of God to become a minister. I said, ‘OK, God.’ It is not my place to argue with God, and I knew if I was truly called, God would work it out.”

“My family had just moved to Troy, where my husband had a new job and my mother-in-law was ill with cancer. The very next week, my husband got a new job, my mother-in-law had a clean bill of health of her colon cancer, we got a contract to sell our home, and I had the total support of my family. I was at peace.”

Carden went to Memphis Theological School and received her masters of divinity degree. Before coming to Columbiana UMC, she served as the youth minister and then assistant pastor at Sylacauga UMC, senior pastor of Harpersville UMC, senior pastor of Vincent UMC, and at the North Alabama UMC Conference, she was a church health consultant to more than 100 churches.

Carden was the interim pastor at CUMC before being appointed senior pastor. She wants to be involved in Columbiana, for when the UMC Conference appoints a pastor, it is to the community, not the church.

“I want to be here for a long time,” said Carden.

Carden’s mission for CUMC for 2011 is straight from the Methodist Communion Liturgy, “One with Christ, One with each other, and One with the world.”

Her desire is to bring a sense of unity, hope and excitement to CUMC and to our community.

Welcome, Pastor Lori, to Columbiana.

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e-mail at

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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