GODtalks began in December, 2020. Complete story below for curious minds. Each one is a "watch any time" 20-minute YouTube program, with music, a GODtalk and a prayer. Our hope is that you will find inspiration, or at least something to talk about over dinner. Click a date below or search in the archives.
- 1.7.24 I Doubt
- 1.14.24 Which God is Your God?
- 1.21.24 What Do You Sacrifice?
- 1.28.24 I Rest My Case
- 2.4.24 Fashion Week
- 2.11.24 Do Something ... or not
- 2.18.24 I Forgive
The birth of GODtalks. As an ordained clergy, I had led worship services in Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches many times, and in the Fall of 2020, had been asked to fill in for two Presbyterian Churches in Upstate New York, for November and December, 2020.. Their pastors had each decided to leave with very little notice. I agreed and planned my services, thrilled to be back in a setting where people were gathering together after the quarantine of most of the year. We were all wearing masks, and I was consciously 'staying my distance' from other people. One of the two churches was in my hometown, which meant many of the people in the pews had known me or known of me for years. (As a high school Music teacher, I had been in the public eye at concerts, so parents and children in the community had seen me in action.) This particular congregation had experienced a rough go, with a pastor who was not particularly people-oriented, and my presence was a turn-around for them. After a few Sundays, where women asked for copies of the message to take home to friends and husbands who 'will never set foot in a church,' I was asked by the committee that hires and fires if I would consider being their new pastor. As with any life-altering decision, I took my time contemplating how that would look in my life. And, because it felt like such a good fit, I eventually agreed. When the committee took my name before the Presbytery (the governing body of all Presbyterian churches in a geographic region of the state), I submitted my resume and statement of faith.
Because I was not trained with the exact degrees they needed, I was told, via phone call, that I was to cease my duties in the two churches immediately, and was never to have any authority whatsoever in any Presbyterian church again in their Presbytery. Ouch. I had been filling pews, I had been nurturing the people, but someone somewhere was threatened by my Interfaith training, perhaps aligning with visions of a goat head on altars! However it played out in their minds, I was permanantly let go, never to set foot again. Until ...
One of the women who had been the head of the church's Board - the most prestigious post in the church - had met me that Fall and we had connected on a spiritual level quickly. Before she died in January, 2021, her request to her only daughter was that I do her memorial service. I was touched, and honored to have been asked. Of course, I agreed. The Presbytery didn't understand why this elegant, intelligent woman would have asked me to do so, but they agreed to allow me to be in the church, as long as a "real" Presbyterian pastor was also helping with the service.
Truer, more genuine grace have I never seen. When i asked a friend of mine to be in attendance and share the service, he smiled broadly, understanding the past political goings on, and offered to sit in the pews with his wife. He asked me to call on him first, at the point in the service where friends and family can share anecdotes. And I did. That was his participation. He had allowed me to handle the entire service. What a beautiful man.
And, so, I turned my December, 2020, messages into GODtalks and began sharing them with anyone who asked. And here I am, never having missed a Sunday, during a major move across states, vacationing, and taking care of elderly family members. I'm so honored that you would read this story. Please let me know you did!
Calm in the Chaos Interfaith Center 585.494.1795 email@example.com