RevGals: A Book and Belonging

I am relatively new to the RevGals community. I found them mid-way through my first year at seminary. It went something like this:

August 2013: Move 4200 km across Canada.

September 2013: Start seminary.

October 2013: Become friends with the only other female MDiv-track in my year.

November 2013: Start following every female clergy person I can find on twitter.

And then I found them: A whole community of women who are leaders in their respective churches. Women who share with each other, care for each other, pray for each other, and laugh with each other. Clergywomen who have blazed the trail for me to come behind and benefit from their wisdom and their struggles.

So I hung around the edges. Online as in life, I am more likely to sit and watch and read rather than jump into the fray and comment the hell out of something. But then something happened that made it impossible for me to quietly watch anymore: They made a book. Or at least they started posting about making a book and were asking for people to contribute stories to it: There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments, and the Healing Power of Humor (published on SkyLight Paths, edited by Martha Spong).

The one thing that I love almost as much as reading books is writing (obviously term papers are long finished and my brain has deluded itself into thinking this last sentence is true. Because it sure wasn’t three weeks ago…!) and when I saw the RevGals post, I knew I had to be involved.

But… I’m not ordained [yet!?!]. What do I have to offer to a collection of stories and reflections about life as a clergywoman? Then I realized that I have been in church leadership for most of my conscious life: from the lead in the Christmas pageant to leading prayers and scripture readings weekly from the time I could reach the lectern microphone from a step stool, from choir member to music director, from serving from the time I could walk and carry a candle at the same time to preaching in pulpits across Canada, from council member to warden, from student intern to leading morning prayer when the priest is away.

Maybe I do belong.

bookAfter all, that is at the heart of most of the stories contained in this book: belonging. We belong. We belong to our families, to our churches, to our communities. We belong to the group of people who call themselves clergy. And we have found a unique, quirky, and loving group of people online – and in person – to whom we also belong. These stories are a reflection of our best days and our worst days, our touching moments and our moments of laughter and tears. They are stories of the women who have gone before me to make a place for women in church leadership and they are stories for the women and men who will come after me.

I’m biased, but it is a fantastic book. I also wrote in it, so I’m even more biased. But I think you should read it. Canadian friends, you can find it here.

Multitude

I was honoured to be invited to contribute to a Lenten reflection booklet curated by a friend and fellow postulant in the Diocese of British Columbia. My reflection was for today and is based on the Hebrew Bible lectionary reading for the day, Genesis 17:3-9.

 

Your name shall be Abraham for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 

Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God.

I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all the tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”

Before he even reproduced, God had made Abraham the father of a multitude of nations. It still seemed impossible – there was not even one child, let alone a multitude of nations.

And before Abraham was even conceived of, Jesus is.

In the beginning was the Word…

Time and space. What is time to God? A thousand years is like a day to God, we are told. Yesterday is last year, tomorrow is 2019. Or 2130. Or 1875.

God was, God is, God will be.

That multitude of nations? God knew them then. God knows them now. God sees and knows those that will be. Each and every one.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again:

And yesterday, today, and tomorrow we all join together; with Abraham, with the angels who heralded Christ’s birth, and with the multitude from every nation envisioned by John, praising God.

Publication!

I did some writing last summer, though not for school.

One piece that I wrote over the summer is getting published in a book this spring! Its a short essay I wrote that is, essentially, a theological reflection on the work I used to do in emergency shelters in BC. It will be published in the book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments, and the Healing Power of Humor which is set to come out mid April (though the amazon page says mid-May).

The book has come out of a community of women who’s wisdom I have appreciated, the Rev Gal Blog Pals. I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting some of them as we get closer to publication. I’m also really looking forward to reading everyone’s essays in the book!

You can see more about it on the Publisher’s page (Skylight Paths Publishing), or on Amazon.

I’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available about its publication date and so on.