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News and Publications

Bladen Pastor to Keynote BCC Basic Skills Graduation

Source Date: April 12, 2013

Reverend Dusty Sprouse, pastor of Wesley's Chapel United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, says his educational journey has equipped him in a most personal way to give a graduation address to students who have just completed requirements to earn their high school credential. He will be the keynote speaker at the Bladen Community College Basic Skills graduation on Friday, May 10, at 5:30 p.m.

"After all, I can identify with them (the graduates), because it wasn't too many years ago that I was one of them, earning my high school credential through a GED program," said Sprouse.

"I struggled in school until I left in disgust in my second year of the 11th grade," he said. "I started working as a mechanic. Then at age 19, I was involved in a bad automobile accident in which I was seriously injured. As I was healing, I began to realize how important it was to further my education and enrolled in a GED program." He completed the program in six weeks and worked as a mechanic and in several other occupations in the ensuing years before entering the ministry. At about age 23, he enrolled in Tidewater Community College. After taking the placement tests, it was determined that he would need to do a lot of "catching up" before he could enroll in college courses. For the next two years he took non-credit developmental courses. He then began taking regular college courses on a part-time basis.

"I felt that God was calling me into the ministry and knew that if I were to succeed I would need to complete my education," he explained. "In 2001 at age 29, I entered the ministry and enrolled in Elizabeth City State University the following year."

While a student at Elizabeth City State, he served as pastor of several churches. He graduated with honors in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. He enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Duke University with a full scholarship through the Thriving Rural Communities Fellowship funded by the Duke Endowment and graduated in 2012 with a 3.0 grade-point-average.

During his educational journey he has served as pastor in five different charges, two of them three-church charges. He was appointed pastor at Wesley's Chapel last June, shortly after completing his Master of Divinity.

"I have a lot of people and institutions to thank for what measure of success I have achieved," he said. "First and foremost, the Holy Spirit, who guided and supported me throughout the process; my family; the many educators I encountered along the way; the Duke Endowment; the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church; and the various churches I pastored throughout my educational journey."