Last week, Mike, my husband and I attended the funeral of the mother of one of our clergy friends. Gladys was a clergy spouse, her husband a retired pastor. We were friends and mourned deeply the loss of this almost 95 year-old matriarch of a beautiful family.
Mike and I were invited to the dinner afterwards, appreciating the hospitality the church offered.
Reflecting on my experience that day, I recalled the words that I have heard since Mike began serving in the Indiana Conference back in 1976: "We are a connectional system." As I grow older, those words appear relevant in new ways. We sat at the dinner with the senior pastor of Mike's first appointment. Dick and his first wife, Phyllis mentored us lovingly during the 2 1/2 years Mike was part of their church. Later, during the service we sat with Peggy, whom we also knew, who was one of the three presiding pastors. Mike and I had mentored her husband, Andy, when he was a member of one of Mike's churches. Andy was a junior and senior in high school at the time. I can still hear the knock on our parsonage door--Andy wanting to talk to Mike about the way he was sensing God's call to ministry. Their visits in the parsonage occurred many times. Mike has been fortunate to serve in one conference during ministry, so our connections are long-lasting and deep.
I am thankful for Gladys' last gift to me--a clearer vision about what it means to be connected to God and connected to each other in ministry.
God, thank you for the ways our lives weave in and out and together in service to you across the miles. Amen.
Jacquie Reed Fishers, Indiana