St. Mary’s Road UMC pastor mixes Bible, baking in online devotional series

March 02 2021

By Kara Witherow, Editor

Last summer, Dr. Adriane Burgess baked her way through the pandemic.

With butter, sugar, and flour by her side, Dr. Burgess – like thousands of others – found solace and comfort in the kitchen.

“I was baking at home like everyone else,” Dr. Burgess laughed. “This is something I have always had a passion for.”

She’s now combined her love of sweet treats and scripture in a regular Facebook video series named “Dessert. Devotion.” Part cooking show, part Bible study, Dr. Burgess’ videos are charismatic, warm, and wise.

In her videos, Dr. Burgess, who grew up baking with her mother, shares recipes she created or family recipes she and her mom have perfected. She also shares tips and tricks – like sifting flour and using packaged peanut butter cookie mix – with her audience.

“I remember growing up and learning how to grease the pan and run the mixer,” said Dr. Burgess, pastor of St. Mary’s Road United Methodist Church in Columbus. “It’s something we really enjoyed doing together, and I have always loved trying different recipes and creating some of my own.”

During the early days of the pandemic, she also dreamed of creating a devotional series, something that would teach and encourage, but wasn’t quite sure what it would look like. A friend suggested she combine her love of baking and the Bible.

“There are plenty of devotionals and devotional opportunities out there, but I wanted something that would be a little different, really fun and creative, and something I enjoy,” Dr. Burgess said. “So I set off to design a devotion that was upbeat, hopeful, affirming, and fun.”

There’s a need for devotionals – short, simple teaching on a Bible verse, biblical topic, or a single truth from the Bible – perhaps now more than ever, she said.

“I saw there was a need for a positive message, for Christian encouragement, a space for reflection, for self-care,” Dr. Burgess said. “I thought this would create a space in our homes … to treat ourselves – that’s the tagline – for spiritual care and to do something that’s fun and positive.”

The videos are also a great way for Dr. Burgess – who moved to St. Mary’s Road UMC last June in the middle of the pandemic – to let her new congregation see a side of her outside of worship services. They’ve also helped her stay connected to past
congregations, family members, and friends, some as far away as Belize and Germany.

“This has been a way to stay connected with people. It’s been fun to see them share the devotion with their family and friends. We all know someone who loves to bake or who is looking for that next devotion.”

It’s impossible to choose a favorite dessert, Dr. Burgess says – her next recipe is always her favorite – and she’s planning to experiment with vegan dishes and desserts during Lent. She’s also preparing a “Dessert. Devotion” Lenten series, with special recipes and a prayer group.

No matter what she’s whipping up, she always has something sweet and an encouraging word to share.

In her “Dessert.Devotion: Homemade 7Up Pound Cake and Peacemaking” video, she compared baking a pound cake to being a peacemaker and then read Matthew 5:9.

“There are two pieces of advice my mama will teach me even today,” Dr. Burgess said. “The first is, if you want to make a good cake, it’s not just about having the right ingredients, it’s also about how you put the cake together. And when it comes to peacemaking, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.”