“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come . . ..”
I have loved the image that this saying inspires since it was impressed upon my heart when I was a teenager. And to this day, I believe Life is the flowing stream and I am the hand that is touching all that has gone before and all that is yet to come. I have always felt connected to a spiritual heritage and have felt that who I am is contributing to the Spirit that flows through my life and all that is living. This saying also makes me realize that the stream that is the church that I love is also a flowing stream and I am committed to always be mindful of what has gone before and committed to placing my hand in all that is still to come . . .
My father’s voice was very strong throughout my life. I never questioned his faith, it was always reassuring to me that he never seemed to question God’s presence and guidance in his life. I believe this solid faith and his unquestioning service to others through the church blessed me with a security that I should expect the Holy Spirit to be in my life. My dad was a no nonsense, “do your part” kind of guy, so the lesson he also taught was that although God and Spirit are ever present, I need to actively seek and participate in this relationship.
My mother has been my spiritual companion throughout my life. I have always admired her confidence in her intuition. This has inspired me to develop my own intuition, which I am sure is Spirit whispering in my ear and nudging my heart.
My sister has also always been my companion on the journey. She and I participated in the first cohort of the church’s Spiritual Formation and Companioning Program (SFCP). I always knew Lenore was my best friend, and those three years gifted us with a shared wonder and a longing for all that is sacred in this life and I don’t think there is another person who “gets me” in the same way as she always does!
When our three years of the SFCP ended, we were asked to complete a final project. I longed for a nearby labyrinth – walking a labyrinth is my favorite spiritual practice. And so, my husband, Dan, built an outdoor labyrinth on the grounds of Southridge, with the help of our friend, Les Sundstom. This must be proof of what a supportive husband he is! Dan has always allowed me time and solitude to explore my spirituality and has encouraged me on this journey. It is a blessing to me that we share faith and a commitment to the Community of Christ AND . . .we share the best gifts given in this life . . . our children and grandchildren!
Our son, Devin, lives in Camas, Washington with his wife, Steffi, and their two children, Mia and Noah. Our daughter, Katlin, lives in Seattle with her husband, Eli, and their son, Odin. There is so much good in my life, but this family is the best and always encourage me to be my best, too.
I have always drawn upon the flowing stream of community, those who have gone before and those who are still to come, but especially upon those who are present in my everyday life. I rely on the voices of others, and the faith and testimonies of others help to shape my understanding of God and the Holy Spirit. Because my dad was in the Army, we moved many times during my growing up years and so our family experienced church community in different places. Probably the community that had the most profound impact on my spiritual life was the congregation we were a part of in Germany. From this experience I learned that it is not important to speak the same language to be able to share the same Spirit. The time I spent with the German Saints was a gift to me – they gifted me with their love and their faith which I could not understand from their spoken words, but from the feeling that passed between us, the spirit that embraced us. The spiritual lesson I learned from this time in Germany is that there is something unspoken, intangible, energetic, loving and inspirational that can happen between people when they come together with God as their focus.
The congregation that has been the church home for me and my family for the past 38 years is Southridge. We have been nurtured by this community and blessed to serve as members and in leadership roles. Over the years, I have served as a priesthood member – first as a Teacher and then as an Elder. Southridge has supported me as I have explored new ways to worship and connect with the Divine. My two new favorite spiritual practices are Forest Bathing (especially with my companion on this journey – Laurie Sharpe!) and walking the labyrinth. This past year, I applied for a GPNW Mission Center grant through New Expressions. Funds were granted to create a portable labyrinth and I am enjoying sharing this with others. Please invite me to your congregation or gathering and I will bring the labyrinth to you!
I am humbled by my call to Evangelist because this gifts me with new opportunities to serve. Throughout my life, I have loved this church and its people. To all of you I know and those I have yet to meet . . . I am looking forward to sharing our stories and the beautiful sacraments that define us as the Community of Christ. It will be good to share ministry and friendship. It is my hope that, together, we will seek peace and justice in our world. And always . . . celebrate all that is sacred in our lives.