Leaving a Trail

Class Sign up is in progress. You can sign up by calling the church office or on Sunday morning sign up in the hallway by Monbleau Hall.

Classes start on Sunday September 8. Remember your choices -

Emerging Christianity - a fascinating look at the changes in the Church -

Taught by Doug Wheeler

Wind of the Spirit - Faith Basics course on doubt, faith, hope and God.

Taught by Peggy O’Connor

Making a Home for Faith - How to share your faith with your kids and grandkids.

Taught by Susan Cartmell

My column is more like a letter this week.

Dear Friends,

This was a hard week for me. Not long after I accepted the call to Pilgrim Church my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery and a series of treatments. But this summer her cancer returned with full force. In recent weeks she has suffered a real decline. She died on Monday September 9, 2019.

I have to believe that there was some real grace in the timing of her death because James was here with us when we got the call to come to Delaware so we were together. That gave me the chance to support him as we made our way through the shock and grief of her death. He stood between me and Peggy when the minister from Mom’s church came to pray with us after she died. I knew he was as strong as he could be for this moment because he enjoys his time on the Cape so much and feels especially happy at Pilgrim Church. So I am especially grateful for the ways you have opened your arms and your hearts to him.

Mom’s Memorial Service will be on Saturday September 21 and I have asked Rev. Ed. Ferrel-Starbuck to lead worship on September 22 in my absence.

You don’t know my mother but she influenced me more than almost anyone. When I went to seminary in 1976 at Harvard it was still a fairly new idea for women to enter the ministry. At my graduation she gave me a card that read - “Do not travel where the path may lead, but go where there is no path and leave a trail.” It was great advice to a woman entering this profession, but it was also advice she had taken to heart herself so many times.

When my brother was born, few people had models for how best to raise a child with Down Syndrome. This was a new frontier and she blazed this trail with patience and courage, resilience and humor. She served on the Delaware Disability Council with James and testified before Congress on behalf of this population.

She went to Mount Holyoke and believed in serving others. She was trained as a social worker and served in tenements outside of New York. All here life she was an advocate for justice and a champion for the poor. She was also married to a Presbyterian minister and a companion in leadership in each of his churches. But faith was her bedrock too, and she believed in the goodness of people, the reliability of God, and the power of prayer.

She was the child of immigrants from England and always loved a good cup, a nice hat and Downton Abbey.

She also loved her Presbyterian Church and will be buried from Westminster Presbyterian in Wilmington, DE on Saturday September 21 at 10 a.m. I will have the service live-streamed on a Facebook Channel for any of you who would like to join us virtually at that time or after.

We decided to livestream the service because this allows many of her friends, too old to travel, to join us. But the reason it makes so much sense to me to do this is because Mom always had a sense that we were connected through faith. When I was working six states away we knew we would both be worshiping on Sundays and the exact words we heard or said did not matter because we were both in God’s house. She taught me we were always in God’s hands wherever we were and whatever happened to us. That knowledge has served me well over the years and it is a great comfort now.

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