Alareece Collie, executive pastor of Walla Walla University Church, was commissioned to the gospel ministry on July 18, 2020, in Walla Walla, Washington. Minner Labrador Jr., Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists president, presented the commissioning certificate.
“Pastor Alareece has a heart for people along with spiritual gifts in administrative excellence,” says Labrador. “I count it an honor to commission her to the ministry. I know God will continue to bless her in her work.”
Collie grew up on the tropical island of Andros, one of 700 islands and cays in the Bahamas. After completing high school, she attended the College of the Bahamas while working at the Nassau branch of Credit Suisse, an international bank and trust company.
Collie tributes her years at Credit Suisse as a crucial part of her story, which helped to nurture her growth as a person and professional and to develop skills God would use when she entered full-time pastoral ministry.
She transferred to Andrews University in Michigan and completed a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Spanish. While at Andrews, she volunteered for outreach activities, preached a two-week evangelistic series in Kenya and spent a year in Argentina learning Spanish. While at Andrews University, Collie had a growing sense that God was calling her to full-time ministry.
Upon graduation, Collie served as a missionary in Costa Rica teaching English as a second language. These experiences fueled her love of traveling and of serving.
After serving as a missionary, she returned to the Bahamas, where Credit Suisse rehired her and she resumed active service as a volunteer in her local church and conference. Eventually, she enrolled at Andrews University Theological Seminary, having surrendered all to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for full-time ministry.
While in seminary, Collie served in several capacities, including as president of the Women’s Clergy Network and as the administrative pastor of the Grace Place, a multiethnic community-focused church in Indiana. She graduated in 2015 with a Master of Divinity degree.
Prayerfully, she accepted the call to serve as executive pastor of Walla Walla University Church. She became the first black female pastor in the North Pacific Union Conference and the first person of color on the pastoral staff at the Walla Walla University Church.
She appreciates God’s leading in her service to the University Church community. Collie is grateful for her supportive parents, siblings, friends and mentors. A text that has inspired her for many years is Jer. 1:4–9, part of which reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”