Pastor Ed Botting has many connections to the Well Community: husband of a member, volunteer Bible study teacher and the Well’s van driver. When he’s not busy with responsibilities, you’ll find him with his eyes and heart firmly planted in the Bible.
With his dedication to personal study and his close connections to Well members, Pastor Ed is uniquely equipped to lead Bible studies for interested members during weekday devotional times at the Community Life Center. His understanding of mental illness and friendships with members help him bring messages that are relevant and receivable. And though Pastor Ed teaches on many passages and themes, he says his overarching message is, “God loves them, and part of that love is His desire for them to study and pray and believe enough for God’s love to be a part of who they are.”
“Mental illness can be a barrier to receiving and processing the Word of God in ways that can change who they are,” Pastor Ed explains. “For example, this morning a few members were asking questions of someone that were intrusive and unkind. So, in Bible study we talked about how when we love like God does, we are kind and thoughtful. My goal,” he continues, “is for God’s love to work itself out in their lives.”
Pastor Ed learned the importance of Bible study from the very beginning of his Christian walk:
“I was not raised in a very religious home, but my first wife (who passed away) was a Christian. In 2001 she had been ill for some time but felt well enough to go to church on Good Friday to have communion. I went with her, and when I touched the elements, I started crying like a baby.
“When I got home, I started reading the Bible, beginning at Matthew 1:1, the first chapter of the New Testament. From then until 3 o’clock Monday afternoon, I only slept about four hours. Every other moment, when I wasn’t tending to my wife’s needs, I was reading the Bible. When I got into the book of Hebrews I read, ‘For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ And at that moment I knew I believed; I knew I had believed deep in my heart. Ever since then, I’ve found it hard to not be in the Bible as much as possible.”
A few years later, Pastor Ed was ordained as a pastor in the Church of God in Christ, which is primarily an African-American denomination. “Pastor Ed’s longtime experience in cross-cultural ministry gives him a special understanding of our diverse membership,” explains Alice Zaccarello, Executive Director of the Well Community. “He has a deep respect for our members and loves to minister to them.”
“Faith is important to many of our members, and they come from a variety of Christian traditions. Our multi-faith “threads” weave our worship into a brilliant fabric of Christian experience,” she says. “However, Pastor Ed’s knowledge of the Bible also keeps us all grounded in the uniting truths taught by Christ, such as ‘love one another,’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”
Devotions are held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and are often taught by Pastor Ed or members of the Well. It is a special treat to have volunteer pastors or laypeople from local churches lead the Bible study as well.
To sign up to share a message at the Community Life Center, or at Thursday Night Life, email [email protected] or call 214-393-5878, ext. 603 after 2 p.m. Monday-Friday.