Handmade Stole GIVEAWAY!!!

A few days ago, Sarah posted our first Fidelia's Sisters 2nd anniversary giveaway; have you commented yet for a chance to win a $50 Chalice Press gift certificate? If not, hop to it, and come back here right away to learn about our second big giveaway!

Are you back yet? Good. Keep reading.

-4 Anna Gordy Montgomery, the talented (and theologically-educated) stole maker behind Gloria Vestments, has offered to give a handmade stole in the color of the winner's choice - red, green, or purple. All you have to do is post a comment here sharing one of the things you love about ministry. Please note that the giveaway is only open to members of the Young Clergywomen Project; if you're not a member yet, now is the time to apply! Comments will be closed on October 31st, when a winner will be selected randomly.


  Of course you want to know more about Anna, who is generously donating the stole.  She weaves her background in theology and art in unique and creative liturgical stoles and paraments to the Glory of God. A Youth Minister by profession, Anna has a degree in theology from Texas Lutheran University. She had taken time from her professional field to "minister to my own youth" as the mother of four young children, when she discovered a deep passion for and a profound joy in fabric art. "It was my desire to create for my children that ultimately led to 'Gloria!'. I had made several quilts for them that were a bit unconventional. My mom saw the quilts and thought I should combine my love for fabric art with my love for the Church. Vestment creation satisfies both my need for creating beautiful artworks and my longing for the glorification of God. I think my parents (Pastor P. Morgan Gordy of Faith Lutheran Church in Lebenon, TN and Bishop H. Julian Gordy of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA) are pretty proud, too." Peruse more of her gorgeous stoles at her Etsy shop.

Happy birthday, Fidelia's Sisters!



What an adventurous endeavor! Thanks, YCW and Anna.
What I love about ministry: getting to talk about what I love (spiritual practice, the Divine, worship, caring for one another) ALL THE TIME. No matter where I am, no matter who I meet, I get to talk about these things (which makes me have to be intentional about NOT talking about it all the time).

I'm loving all these creative celebrations!

One of the things I love about ministry is story - getting to share God's story and the ways we are invited to be part of it, and listening to other people tell their stories. The best part is discovering how the stories weave together!

One of the things I love about ministry is the freedom to be present in the lives of others at some of the most amazing times: birth, death, and many other private moments. This privilege of admission lets me see God at work in ways that my own life would never show.

Last year, I was welcomed into the hospital room to hold the hand of a young woman who was delivering her 5 month old still-born daughter. When the nurse wrapped the baby and let her mom hold her, the mother looked up at me and asked, "Could you say a prayer of thanksgiving?" WOW! God's presence in that room was palpable, and God weeping with us and laughing with us is something I will never forget. What a privilege to be a pastor!

I love the preaching and teaching side of ministry and particularly working with individuals or small groups.

I especially enjoy the process of communal wrestling with scripture with initial struggle to put a passage into any sort of context then through thinking and questioning up to and including the penny dropping, the lights coming on in people's mind as the Holy Spirit does her stuff and an individual realises how God's Word really is still relevant to their life and experience.

One of the things I love most about ministry is also one of the things that drives me crazy - the incredibly varied tasks we are called on to do. In any given day, I might teach, read, write, preach, pray, think, talk, visit, worship... or make copies of the bulletin, play games with the youth, update the website, plan a retreat, bake brownies, lead meetings. One day recently, I spent the morning with the older adult Sunday school class (for which my primary purpose was to start the DVD player), and then visited a family whose father was dying of cancer. Somehow, both activities felt important.

fun stoles!

what i love about ministry: helping others to see the sacred in the ordinary...i love moments of revelation - recognition of God's love and light everywhere, God's glory in the regular day-to-day. to take c.s. lewis' words, sooo fun to be surprised by joy...when youth especially reach out beyond themselves and discover such wondrous beauty!

Wow, just one?

How about the rapt expressions of three little girls on Sunday hanging on every word of the story of Noah and his ark? Or that each of them painted a beautiful rainbow, without having to say a word about why?

Those little peaks into people's experience of God are breathe taking.


I love that ministry is life-giving. Not only for those to whom I minister, but to me. I remember returning to work after maternity leave and breathing in a fresh, clean breath and knowing, without a doubt, that this is what I was meant to do. I love that I can be a minister and a mother and a wife and a real human being all at the same time--even when that seems difficult. Being a part of people's lives in all sorts of minor and major ways, learning their stories, sharing God's story. I love youth lock-in's and senior adult choir concerts, preaching and visiting hospitals. I am thankful for this vocation, for my church, and for this life of ministry.

Gorgeous stoles!
What I love about ministry is its variety - from preaching and worship, to leading Bible study, to sharing in our prayer shawl ministry as one of the knitters, each day is different, and in them all, I am blessed by God to enjoy those moments when the light goes on for someone in their faith journey and they are challenged and encouraged to go a step further.

I knew that this was happening and I still think that this is awesome.

I love that ministry brings this group of women together. I mean, really, what would Fidelia think? I love that our faith constantly transforms us into our biggest dreams. I can see that in my ministry (almost) every day.

I have had people over the years say to me things like, "Because of your sermon, I finally have the courage to [insert radical life change here]."


There are many things that I love, but the one that I'm appreciating the most this morning is how much amazing stuff I get to learn on a weekly basis in sermon preparation.

In addition to reading commentaries and doing exegesis, I have also learned about singing sand dunes, elephant orchestras, the history of vending machines, and amazing legends about Jerusalem, among other things. Maybe my sermons are more off the wall than they should be, but I am astounded at the many ways that God is at work in this world and the plethora of things that can be used as sermon illustrations.

This week I've been especially blessed by the reminder that I am ministered to by my people as much as I minister to them. I love being part of a community that is growing, sharing, and excited about being a part of God's kingdom.

What I love the most, and what keeps me in ministry whenever I doubt, is worship. Not "just" worshiping, but standing there behind the altar, raising the host high, and feeling how the divine light reaches from all of those that have gone before me through me and on. How that light shines so strongly in the serious little faces of the five-year-olds that kneel to receive that same host, and how that light just shines stronger whenever we share God's joy in us among ourselves.

What I love about ministry - planning worship and feeling the Spirit move in worship (often times in places I didn't plan!) and finding the colleagues, like at TYCWP who get excited about liturgy, and about the privilege of being with a family during the death of a loved one, who care about justice and equality, and just love everything we discover about God and each other through Bible study.

As a hospital chaplain, I am awed and honored by the trust placed in my by patients and families. When I enter a room, most have no prior relationship with me, but they are gracious in the extreme to allow me to share in their holy times of confusion, pain, and suffering (and occasionally joy!). The privilege of being present never fails to surprise or humble me.

Let's see - this week I'm loving talking about a church that's always reforming where even the littlest and the least can be vessels of God.

Yesterday, I loved sharing communion and singing old hymns with a 97-year-old woman, struggling after a stroke that has left her unable to speak. But still, her lips moved with the words of those hymns...

I love the variety that ministry offers. From liturgy, to preaching and teaching to the privilege of being invited into all the crappy and all the wonderful parts of peoples lives, to breaking bread and sharing communion, to camping out with the youth group on the church basement floor, all the while challenging all to see the face of Christ in everyone they meet!
That... and of course the little triangle sandwiches at every church function!

I love the surprises that ministry brings. Surprise moments when the spirit moves. Surprise moments of grace when it felt like there was none to be had. Surprises of people doing the unexpected, just when I thought I had them pegged! The list goes on...

My favorite part of ministry is sharing the love of Christ with people who have never felt loved before. From children to adults, the look they have when they "get it" is always the same... awe and wonder. And that is worth all the paperwork and nonsense!

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