On the evening of Thursday, January 17 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Mayor Barry Gordon presented the 2018 Duncanville Woman of the Year award to someone quite well-known in Grace Presbytery – Rev. Dr. Ginger Hertenstein, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Duncanville!
To those who know her, and are familiar with Ginger’s long-standing commitment to mission and community outreach, Thursday’s announcement came as no surprise.
“I don’t know of any person in Grace Presbytery that is more mission-minded than Ginger,” says Rev. Craig Krueger, Director of Ministry Transitions.
“The greatest thing is that she does so much more than just talk mission and mission-mindedness, she actually pulls people together and helps them live their faith in their daily life and community.”
In 2013, Ginger and the FPC congregation made the decision to host a community festival in hopes of making connections outside the church walls. “Festival of Hope” was born and included choir performances, Bible stories, and booths for local non-profits to promote their services.
That year they raised $52,000 for Duncanville Outreach Ministry, a local emergency assistance agency.
“In the years since, we have done other festivals including Have Faith, the story of Nehemiah and Community In Unity, and over four years have raised a total of about $230,000 for the outreach ministry,” says Ginger.
As the festivals grew in number, the number of churches wanting to participate grew as well.
And as a follow-up to these festivals, a series of “Community Conversations” regularly bring together city and business leaders, government representatives (the mayor, city manager, council members and others), and members of local churches and schools. It’s really all about the good of the community.
“We also created an informal Duncanville Community Chorus and were invited to sing at Carnegie Hall, so this past November we took 18 singers, including two high school students and several singers from the area. The community contributed financial support for our trip.”
Ginger says while she was thrilled to receive the award, the award itself is not what drives her.
“I am driven by doing whatever I can to get the Bible and the stories of God into the public forum because they are so vital to a healthy, thriving community. It’s a way for the church to bless our community.”
“I do hope the award offers me opportunities to speak to others who might be drawn to work together to become a ‘neighbor-helping-neighbor’ or ‘community in unity’ like Duncanville.”
Ginger celebrated her award with husband, Dean, who she says has supported her all the way. “He is my great encourager.”
For 2018’s Duncanville Woman of the Year, 2019 is now back to business as usual at First Presbyterian, Duncanville.
“Believers engaging community,” says Ginger. “Helping the community feel the love of Jesus!”
First Presbyterian Church is located at 543 E. Freeman Street in Duncanville.
To learn more about these outreach initiatives and how churches can best serve the community by working together, you can read Ginger’s book, Imagine Churches Working Together: How Ten Churches Created One Awe-Inspiring Night (available on Amazon.)