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Volunteer Spotlight: Shellie Burden Leads Team of Alumni Prayer Warriors

By Andrea Osmun g05

The spirit of the Lord is still moving among the people of the Fort Wayne campus. A team of prayer warriors led by Fort Wayne alumnae Shellie Kale-Burden g91 and Cathy (Diller) Schrock g90 cover the alumni and former faculty and staff in prayer on a regular basis. The act of interceding for the Fort Wayne family has served as a powerful way to keep everyone connected.

Shellie became one of the alumni prayer team’s leaders three years ago, when Alumni Director Michael Mortensen g91 asked her to volunteer in this role originally held by Violet (Egly) Ringenberg g45.

“With our charge to care for our alumni, I thought of no better way to do this than to pray for them,” Michael shared. I asked ‘Ma Ringenberg’ to start the team in 2009, and she built the team up to about 18 members until her passing. I then asked Shellie, who had served on the team to take the lead.”

“While hesitant at first, because of the ‘large shoes’ to fill of Violet, Shellie agreed and has been so faithful. She coordinates the prayer requests making contact with our team, but she also documents the requests and submits reports, which is really appreciated,” Michael concluded.

Shellie saw it as an opportunity to connect with alumni and serve from her home, but it became much more than that.

“Any time you pray for someone consistently, it creates a bond, even if you don’t know that person or didn’t go to school with that person,” Shellie said. “I want to know updates on how you’re doing and where you are in life. Prayer changes the person who prays as much as the person you’re praying for, maybe more.”

The alumni prayer team is now made up of 30 volunteers from all over the United States from Hawaii to Indiana, who span several generations of Fort Wayne graduates. Shellie said she’s never met some of the volunteers in person, but they all share the common bond of prayer and love for the Fort Wayne campus. She has become close friends with them through sharing prayer requests over e-mail and Facebook.

“Cathy does the text messages, and I send out emails,” Shellie said. “Whenever alumni have a prayer need, they contact Michael or one of us, and we send it out to the members of the team. We’re praying for them. If we can get an update, we’ll send it out, but a lot of times we don’t get updates. God understands and knows their needs, and we continue to pray as they come to mind.”

Any alumni who have a prayer request may contact Michael at (260) 744-8790 or alumnifw@taylor.edu or Shellie at faithful2j@gmail.com, with “alumni prayer request” in the subject line.

“You have 30 alumni in multiple time zones praying for you,” Shellie said. “That’s the body of Christ. That’s what the Church -- with a capital C -- is all about.”

The Fort Wayne alumni prayer team is always open to more volunteers. As Shellie said, “The more, the merrier.”

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