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Deborah Copley Gibson
206 Willing Lakes Court
Orangeburg, SC 29118
I was born in Crossville, Tennessee in 1953. I lived and went to elementary school
in the small town of Jamestown. During this time my parents divorced. My
mother remarried and my brother and I moved to Orlando, Florida. I graduated
from Boone High School and then attended Florida Bible College for over three
years in Hollywood, Florida.
At age 22, I married and moved to California. I traveled to many different places
that my husband’s work required. I also visited my parents, who had moved to
Africa, and they took me on a trip to Spain. Living in California and traveling
broadened my small town mind.
We eventually settled down in Florida and my career choice at age 27 was
cosmetology. I obtained a license from MargateSchool of Beauty and began
working in Ft. Lauderdale. For many years I experienced working directly with
the public. As a small business owner I was responsible for all of my product
inventory, retail sales, telephone appointments, and bank deposits. I learned to
keep a positive attitude with a pleasant demeanor.
My career as a cosmetologist was interrupted by hand surgery. During my
recovery period I decided to change my vocation. I was trained to work as a sales
consultant for Olan Mills in their Church Directory Division. It was based out of
Chattanooga, Tennessee. At this time my sales and public relations abilities were
maximized. I acquired new computer skills and learned how to make sales, take
online orders and download them nightly. This job required driving many miles
through three or four states and going to small churches in remote areas. I was
responsible and accountable for all revenue and bank deposits. I had to fill out
weekly expense and travel reports and participated in weekly conference calls.
Team work and a positive attitude combined with a professional appearance and
professional conductwas expected. I enjoyed this job working with churches but
the long travel hours and time spent away from my son caused me to seek other
I gained experience in the field of television in my free time. Forapproximately
three months I created and hosted my own Christian show called “God Talk”. This
gave me experience and insight into the ministry of preaching and teaching. Being
involved with this helped me to say yes to my destiny as a Christian. Soonafter
that I became a candidate seeking to become a licensed United Methodist pastor.
In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with forth stage cancer. My sonwas in college
and no longer lived with me. I moved into my parent’s home to help take care of
my mother. She lived another two and a half years. During that time I became a
part time “ local pastor” and associate at Albany United Methodist Church in
Albany Kentucky. I served there for over two years where I started a local jail
ministry, facilitated” Celebrate Recovery”, preached bi-weekly and held Bible
After my mother died I moved to the town of North, South Carolina, where no
appointments were open for me as a local pastor. I took a job teaching school at
Livingston Christian Academy along with my husband. This experience gave me
more teaching skills as I learned to work with first, second, and third graders. It
was a joy.
Within a year, my District Superintendent, Rev. John Hipp, gave me a pastoral
appointment. Ihave been serving Oak Grove UMC and Calvary UMC in Swansea,
South Carolina, as their Senior Pastor for four years. This experience is helping
me fulfill my calling to make disciples for the transformation of the world. My job
as pastor includes many facets of ministry. It requires leadership abilities with the
heart of a servant. I personally facilitate classes on discipleship, confirmation and
Bible study. We employ a Youth Director and have “Children’s Church” available
to children eleven and under. Our ministry is a team effort.
I spend time every summer taking theological courses at Emory University in
Atlanta, Georgia. This past winter I also invested in a class offered by the Grief
Recovery Institute, based in California. Their aim has been to deliver grief
recovery assistance to the largest number of people in the shortestnumber of time.
I am now a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist.
I have always had a heart for recovery ministry. I was the daughter of an alcoholic
and never realized the impact that would have on my life. I have experienced
being a divorced and single mother raising a child by myself. Experiencing the
hard knocks of life and searching for healing myself has given me a heart for
helping people find faith in Jesus Christ and showing them the actions they need to
take to be free from their past hurts and losses.