Today is a day to celebrate! This afternoon my dear friend and colleague, Cordelia, will be ordained into ministry in the United Church of Christ. Those present will acknowledge and affirm her gifts and pray God’s blessing on her as she begins her new call at The Congregational Church of South Hero, UCC in South Hero, VT. As a native New Englander this is really a homecoming for her and she will be closer to some of her family, too.
I am proud of and excited for Cordelia on this day, but admit that I am a bit sad, too, as she moves this coming Monday. She has become a dear friend. We met in the Fall of 2006 when we both started coursework at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. I took only one class that Fall – Intro to New Testament – and Cordelia was in it. Though we had a few conversations that semester, our friendship did not really blossom until the Spring when I started classes full-time and moved onto MTSO’s campus. That was really when it all began. Cordelia’s room in the dorm was adjacent to mine and we shared a bathroom. The true test of any relationship is the ability to share a bathroom and I am grateful for her grace and mercy on the several occasions that I locked her out. She would give me that sheepish grin at breakfast and calmly whisper in her “I’m telling you this for your own good” motherly voice, “You left the bathroom locked … again.” Sigh. The fact that we are still friends is a testament to her great kind and gentle spirit.
Cordelia and I shared many late-night conversations in the dorm that Spring and in subsequent semesters as we both resigned from our full-time jobs and navigated our new roles as pastors in rural churches. We talked about our classes. We talked about our churches. We talked about theology. We talked about life. We shared stories of our childhoods and journeyed together through times of great joy and deep sadness. Talking with each other helped us process and think through our experiences. Cordelia is the reigning “Queen of Overthinking” and there were times when we talked a topic to its death and burial. And to my astonishment, like the risen Christ, Cordelia could talk a topic to resurrection! Indeed those were our “a-ha” moments when new insights were discovered and healing took place.
I am so very grateful for the gift of Cordelia’s presence on my seminary and ministry journey. (And I am grateful that I now have an island vacation spot on Lake Champlain in South Hero, VT!!). Cordelia, I love you and am so very proud of you. May God strengthen, nourish and sustain you in your ministry with the people in South Hero.
Until next time, peace …