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Walkin’ in Memphis

This week, I’ve had the special privilege of spending time with Greg Aydt, serving as chaplain with Memphis 901FC, an expansion team with USL-Championship, the second division of professional soccer in the US. Greg has been serving the club since the beginning of the year. It’s not just a new team to Memphis, but a new opportunity for Greg who serves as a pastor at Advent Presbyterian and today passed his examination for ordination in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Greg and I pose outside Autozone Park, home stadium of Memphis 901 FC.

Memphis 901 FC has captured the hearts of many in the city of Memphis. As a professional soccer team, coming to this city has meant a lot, especially for one of the owners, Tim Howard, for whom Memphis is home. And as soccer continues to grow in the United States and as Memphis begins to grow there is a lot of promise for those involved.

Starting in sports chaplaincy is never an easy task. Many times it can come with a bit of struggle as some have likened it to being “like a ‘stray dog — they either kick you out or start to feed you.'” Chaplains must earn the trust and be winsome in many ways. Often, chaplains must serve and work to demonstrate the value that they bring to a club or organization.

Greg stands ready at a training session — whether to retrieve an errant ball or strike up a conversation with someone injured or struggling.

Chaplains bring an incarnation presence to the teams and organizations that they serve. They are often an extension of love and grace and constancy in a world filled with transition, hurriedness, and challenges for one’s faith and family life. Many, by virtue of their profession, live a nomadic lifestyle — moving from team to team, city to city to ply their trade for as many days as their bodies will allow.

Greg, being prayed over after successfully passing his oral ordination examination.
2019 Presbytery of the West at Advent Presbyterian Church, Cordova, TN

Part of my time and purpose for going to Memphis was to spend time with Greg. To give coaching and insight and to see the specific environment that he is faced with — with all of its challenges and with the different blessings. It is also to learn from Greg — what does he need more of, what does he need less of? And, as the season, and years to come progress, myself and the rest of Soccer Chaplains United will be able to better support Greg and his work with the people that make up Memphis 901 FC.

Pray for Greg. Pray for Memphis. Defend Memphis

Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and we depend upon the financial support of our partners to carry out our work of developing chaplaincy in cities like Memphis with teams like 901 FC. Your support allows us to provide coaching and help further develop chaplaincy. Please consider making a contribution today to help us continue growing our work. Click the PushPay logo below or text soccerchaplains to 77977 to make a secure electronic donation. You can also mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081 Denver, CO 80250.

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