A fellow Upper New York Annual Conference Member asks some hard questions. Do we have answers ?
http://alzheimersspeaks.com/ Why did I title this post “A BLOG FOR EVERYONE” ? Because everyone is most likely all of these four things a) afraid of getting this disease b) afraid of their loved one getting this disease c)knows someone with or finally d)knows someone who is caring for someone who has this disease. If you know me by now, and most of you do, you know that my passion is doing ministry with people in their second half of life, or in ministering to those who are in the latter part of their life. Sometimes that means dealing with diseases that are hard to understand, hard to treat, hard to accept, and hard to talk about. Alzheimer’s Disease is one of those such diseases and the link to the blog above by Lori LeBay does a wonderful job of talking about it, providing resources for people living with it, people living with a loved one living with it, and for those of us living in fear of it. A very good friend of mine confided to me one day that she had Alzheimer’s Disease one afternoon about seven or eight years ago, at that time I would see her a couple times a week and we were very close, since then she has been busier with her family and I have been busier with school and many other things, I saw her not long ago when she came to an event I was attending. Fearing the progression of the disease, I did not expect her to remember me besides myself there were at least half a dozen other people there that she had not seen in at least four years, I really was overcome when I realized she remembered us all ! We may not hear about a Prophet parting the Sea to save his people very often these days, but miracles are still happening and sometimes they happen in Doctor’s offices all over the country or even in big pharmaceutical companies doing research for a disease. So while I am not comparing Pfizer to Moses, I want to thank a very special lady with a lovely French accent for showing me that sometimes miracles do still happen ! Thank you Lori La Bey for your wonderful work !
My thoughts on the topic have also been submitted to the comment section of the UMC.org site.
I think we need to be discussing much more than just ageism. Is it not true that there are more second career Elders and Deacons who are female? I can certainly personally attest to the fact that when I was in my early twenties and deciding on which career to pursue I did not see a career in ministry as something that women were doing. They might have been, I just know that in my experience I did not see it. I can also tell you that in my experiences as a young woman in the seventies and eighties I did not see any female clergy in the churches I attended.
I am in a part of the country where there are more female Elders than the national average, but even now, more than over a decade into the 21st century, I was told that in my conference I will most likely be the first female Elder at every church that I will serve, that statement referred the, more than twenty year span, of my entire career. The churches that I will likely serve, in Upper NY Annual Conference, are not even close to the size of some of the churches in the Texas Annual Conference. In fact the largest churches in my district are much closer to five hundred members and not the one thousand member churches mentioned by one blogger from the Texas Annual Conference. I need to add to the previous statement the explanation that I am referring to less than five churches out of the almost seventy in my district, which is the average size for my conference, but many of the districts in my conference do not have any churches even that big. The fact of life is most newly ordained, or newly graduated, Elders or Probationary Elders, will serve two and sometimes three churches to be able to earn the minimum compensation package.
So, if the conferences in the country that are home to the largest, and most conservative, United Methodist Churches are saying that they really would prefer that anyone born prior to 1968 “pursue other expressions of lay ministry” and the only conferences that are acknowledging that each individual is uniquely gifted, are the more progressive, but smaller more religiously diverse conferences, then just exactly what is the message of the GBOD and the GBHEM going to be? I happen to come from a conference that is home to a very long line of women in the history of the United Methodist Church. I can’t imagine, but I do not know for a fact, that a woman born in Texas in 1968 would have been more likely to have had more female role models than a woman born in the former Troy Conference.
I think that the Texas Annual Conference may need to take a much closer at, and be very careful in its discernment of, this proposal. Just exactly how many types of discrimination are at work here?
Christine Smith, age 45
Certified Candidate, UNYAC
Drew Theological School, M.Div. exp. 2016
Boston on Marathon Day, tax day for many, a Monday, a Sunny day in the Northeast. First it came from a friend on chat, did you hear ? Did I hear what? About Boston she answered. Then the Facebook feed started to change, PRAYERS FOR BOSTON read a friends post. I was on the phone with a customer service agent trying to pay a bill, I asked him if he was in the United States, he said no, I told him and we sat for a moment in silence not knowing what to say before we continued on with the task at hand. My fiancee was at the grocery store, I asked him if he knew when he got back a few moments after I turned on the television for the first time this semester. He had not heard. We held each other and I cried, he asked if I was scared, reminding me that everyone I knew was safe, I was crying for our world, the world of my children, the world that someday will be home to Grandchildren of mine. He understood and held me a little tighter.
What do we do when our world is turned upside down? Where do we turn? Here, on the campus of my seminary, I am sure many have gathered in the chapel, I will go there too, later. I am sure that many will go to their synagogues, chapels, mosques, cathedrals, temples, churches and houses of worship of all creeds and doctrines we will cling to each other and ask why? Some will blame, some will be angry with God, or Muhammad, or Buddha, but no matter where or who or how we worship, in some way one thing will be universal; we will gather together.
That is how it is intended to be. We do not live in this world in isolation, we live in community. We were created to compliment each other and work together. I am a Christian, you may not be, maybe you are one of the people who mark the box labeled “none” when the form says religious affiliation, maybe today you will not?
This weekend many churches and religious institutions will see an increase in attendance, that is what we do, we seek sanctuary, in whatever way we define it. My fervent prayer tonight is that “we” (those of us who attend, and those of us who lead) we will greet all who enter, with the open arms that God calls us to have, may God’s arms surround you and your family tonight, and may you be the arms of God in this world as you go through the week. God Bless You. AMEN
A Four-fold Franciscan Blessing
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
And may the blessing of God our Creator, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Sustainer, be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.
A Collection of Images to bring you JOY !
My Blessings !