50 Stories for 50 Years: Beth Templeton
We all know that person who seems to be involved in everything and has you wondering if they ever sleep. Reverend Beth Templeton, who was Executive Director at United Ministries for 24 years, is such a person. Before her career at United Ministries, Beth went to Erskine Theological Seminary thinking she would work at a church full time. However, she graduated without a call, largely because many churches did not want female reverends at that time. Beth’s path happened to cross with United Ministries during her time at seminary, so she agreed to take a part time job here after graduation. Working in the nonprofit field was not what she initially set out to be a part of, but while she “thought [working at United Ministries] would close a lot of doors, it opened more than imaginable.”
During her time working at United Ministries, which began in 1982, she was involved in either starting or majorly shaping all but one of the current United Ministries’ programs. She saw the need for a homeless day shelter, so she helped open the Place of Hope. In the early 1990s, Beth knew she wanted to open a school to support individuals trying to obtain their GEDs, so she began the Adult Education program. She was also involved in furthering the reach of the Emergency Assistance program and the Employment Readiness program so that more participants could be supported and empowered. The changes that Beth made were influenced by the organization’s decision to change from being a “band aid” nonprofit that focused on short-term solutions to becoming a place where people could come to make lasting change.
Now, even after retiring from United Ministries 13 years ago, she is still busy helping change lives. She has written ten books ranging in topic from getting older to the causes of poverty, she often facilitates poverty and reentry simulations, she is involved in organizing retreats, and she still preaches. Working at United Ministries has influenced how she acts in her current positions and what she tries to teach others. Beth learned so much working for this organization and stresses that she is “very proud of United Ministries and [proud] that [she] was a part of it.”