I held a meeting with my congregation’s worship and music director the other day to tell her that my eldest child wouldn’t be attending children’s choir for the near future. I fretted quite a bit about this conversation. Not because I don’t like the choir program. Not because I don’t like the choir director. We had to quit a church activity due to too much church. I worried tremendously that I would hurt the feelings of my treasured colleague; the last thing I want is a member of my staff to feel that I am not supporting her ministry.
When I was in Junior High, I decorated my room in
rainbows. Two six-foot tall
rainbow shades hanging on my wall.
A rainbow lantern over my light. Rainbow posters.
My decorating sensibilities are more refined these days, but I still love color. On a sunny fall day, if you look in the Kansas sky about half-way between the horizon and the top of the dome, you will see the most beautiful shade of blue there is. If you go for a walk in the summer...
I left work early on that Friday so that I could run home for a few minutes before an evening meeting. So when I turned on to my street and saw seven police cars and a fire truck directly in front of my house, I realized that perhaps those leisurely few minutes would be different than expected. My neighbors were all standing on the street staring down the block towards my house. As I leapt out of the car, I thought, “Is it burned down? Did I leave the curling iron on? But I don’t see anything wrong with the house.” It took only a few minutes to learn that it wasn’t my house the cops were watching. It was my neighbor to the right. He had shot himself that afternoon. My neighbor was dead.
A few Sundays ago, one of our three year olds (I’ll call her Claire) was sitting in the second row of pews with her parents. Next to her was one of our church elders, Harrison, who is also a pillar of the congregation in the best sense of the word and one of the few people I have ever met who is completely at home, able, and amazing with kids from age 0 to 25.
When this family went up for communion, Claire didn’t take any. But, after they got back to the pew, they saw a dad and his three year old go up and the three year old took communion. (OK, full disclosure, that was my kid…who is not about to give up any chance to get her hands on extra grape juice.) When Claire saw Zora taking communion she was a little peeved that she hadn’t gotten to. Her parents sort of wondered about this, and Harrison explained that current PC(USA) policy is that it’s up to parents to decide when kids may take communion, and if it was OK with them, Claire could.
I was at the grocery store the other day. My grocery store. The one where, in theory, I go once a week with menu planned and shopping list in hand. The one where, in actuality, I go once a day to pick up milk or bread or frozen pizzas.
As I was walking down the juice aisle with definite purpose, my cart expertly stacked, I noticed a bewildered looking middle-aged man. His cart had only a few items in it, thrown in haphazardly. He looked at the paper in his hand and then at the shelves to his left. Then at the paper, then at the shelves to his right.
Just as he was getting ready to look at his paper again, he saw me. His look of confusion turned into a smile of utter relief. “You can help me,” he said. “Where can I find the almonds?”
Is it harder because I am older? Because I have never been the girl who had a guy? Or because I am a priest and the fear that I might not date anyone again haunts me? When my boyfriend and I broke up 7 months ago I was devastated. I told myself I was fine, but I wasn’t. I have always been the strong, independent type who was friends with the boys and played sports. Having a boyfriend never defined me, and never has it ever been something that I pined for or missed. Until now. It was a year-long relationship in a new town. Surprisingly, I had dated 2 guys for 6 months each back-to-back, then not too long later, I met this one.
It was not a perfect relationship…we were not completely right for each other. But he was sweet and basic and it was nice. Nice to know someone for a long time, to go through all the seasons and holidays with one person. Nice to actually not be the odd girl - the one without a guy. Nice to talk about “us” and say “we”. And I think I got used to it. Part of me might have been settling for someone who was great, but not my soul-mate. But, gosh it was comfortable. It was great to be part of a couple. I wasn’t lonely.
by Elsa A. Peters
While we search for epiphanies after the birth of our salvation, I'd like to offer a review of a book that I have learned to cherish with my whole heart. It didn't come naturally. I had to literally learn to love this book like a fourth grader forced to write a book report. I couldn't tell you exactly where it clicked or how this book became like an old friend. I can only tell you that this book -- the one that we call the Bible -- has been a long-time best-seller in America for very good reason.
It has songs that sing the deepest of human lamentations. It has stories that speak of impossible hope. It has parables that can twist around your mind. It has some women that totally contradict the attitude that the Apostle Paul uses to attempt to belittle them -- although those particular epistles weren't actually written by Paul at all. This Good Book even has a few good miracles that make our ordinary god-sightings look plain.
The trusty board of The Young Clergy Women Project has been busy this year coming up with new and exciting opportunities for us to be (and fund!) our community. Here are a few of the up and coming opportunities that you might want to be a part of: