When Latasha Milton first walked on the PTS campus she felt very comfortable, as if she were returning to a familiar place. “Everything seemed to line up and I felt like I was supposed to be here,” she says of her L.I.V.E. Symposium experience, which was instrumental in her decision to attend.
Milton came to PTS with a master’s degree in counseling and early childhood from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg and seven years of experience as a children’s pastor in St. Louis.
Milton was a pastor while a student at the Seminary. Although Milton had always had a passion for helping underprivileged youth, she discovered while at PTS that she also had a talent and love for leading an intergenerational congregation. She was appointed to senior pastor in 2016 and her congregation ranged in age from six to 80.
She tells the story of a woman in an assisted living facility, whom she would visit between classes. The woman had been a member of the congregation at Cadwalader-Asbury United Methodist Church in Trenton, NJ – the first church in which Milton served as a senior pastor. Though the woman was suffering from early dementia, “she would always look up at me with bright eyes and say that’s my pastor,” Milton says. “In a way she was ministering to me, and it gave me confirmation that I was on the right path.”
Milton says her coursework at PTS has given her a strong theological foundation to serve in ministry as well as a social justice voice to help serve marginalized communities.
“My passion is doing what I can to empower and liberate people who are hurting,” she says. “PTS has made me a better person and pastor because it’s given me the tools to better serve the oppressed and marginalized.”
This year, Milton received the The David B. Watermulder Award in Church Leadership, which is given annually to the graduating senior who shows the greatest promise of exercising leadership in the church. She plans to continue that leadership role after graduation by working with underprivileged youth and adults in an intergenerational congregation, as a senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Atlantic City, NJ.
“I have always been the type to serve in the background, but it seems the more I’ve tried to hide, the more God pushed me to the front,” she says. “I want to glorify God and serve God’s people, and to tell people there’s still hope in Jesus.”