Gifts from God, Wisdom of Elders

A long awaited event, this past Monday I was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, a Teaching Elder in PC(U.S.A). I felt an outpouring of support and love, and the laying on of hands was a touching and weighty experience. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend, and also to you who could not be in Albany physically, I still felt your presence. I am grateful for each and every one of you, and I am looking forward to what the future holds for us.

One unexpected outcome of my ordination was the gift of books that came my way. In April, in the hours before I was examined by the Presbytery for readiness for ordination, the Rev. Peg M. died suddenly. Her death was a blow felt by so many people in the Presbytery as well as former parishioners. I remember Peg from my days as a child at Union Presbyterian Church. She left right before I was eligible to join the youth group, but I still remember her quiet confidence and steady faith. After my ordination, Peg's husband contacted me, wanting to know if I would be interested in giving Peg's books a good home. I was speechless and very honored, but found the words to say "yes". We were at a Presbytery meeting, and he happened to have one box of her books. More to come after he has a chance to sort through her life left behind.

In the box was a much loved Bible. Every page has been read, many annotated with one woman's insights, joys, fears and struggles. Some of the notes are phrases like: "We cannot hide from God's presence", "passing the buck", and "behavior has consequences" written in the margins of the Old Testament passage for this week. Other notes are deep, insightful, personal answers to the Spiritual Formation questions that accompany key verses. All written in pencil, but no smudges of erasure. This Holy Book has been made more so by witness. I look forward to Reverend Peg’s teachings, even after her death.

SUPC Pastor