July 18 I received a text message from then Pastor-elect, Pat Jones. She was asking Rev. Cameron Smith and me to participate in her ordination and installation service on September 23. We both responded with joy, marked our calendars, and blocked off the afternoon in honor of the work God had been and was doing in Pat’s ministry. CeCe had gotten a similar text, as did Anya, our AME sister. Rain, sleet, flood or mud we were going to be present for Pat’s ordination. God had brought many of us together as seminary sisters in 2012 and grafted CeCe and Kim into our fold as they became members of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery.
During seminary we shared rides together, studied together, prayed together, and later took our ordination exams together. We celebrated the news of new births with the arrival of Sumner, Cameron’s twin boys, and Anya’s daughter. We shared the hardships and joys of parenting. We comforted one another with the death of parents and grandparents. We called upon each other to pray for changes of call. We send each other notes and texts, make phone calls, and have coffee regularly. We meet to study the scriptures. These are some of the women with whom I laugh so hard my face hurts and cry so deeply my heart aches. These are my sisters. This is us.
When people ask me what the church looks like, I often tells stories of these women. We represent six churches of all different sizes and make-ups. We think differently, lead differently, and serve God differently yet we have so much in common we can’t help but be drawn into friendship. I give thanks for these women, the churches who called us to pastor, and the work we get to do with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. We took vows to further the peace, unity, and purity of the Church at each of our ordinations and installations and oh what a joy it is!
So, when you see the newly ordained Rev. Pat Jones out and about, welcome her as a member of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, as pastor for Hebron Zion Presbyterian Church, and as a sister of mine.