31 March 2010

Lent: day 37

I find hope in the wilderness when I help others come through the mud that is life.
Jami Yandle, Union Theological Seminary 1st year

30 March 2010

Lent: day 36

I find hope in the wilderness when I remember nothing can separate me from God's Love.

David Richardson, Presbytery of NYC

29 March 2010

Lent: day 35

I find hope in the wilderness when I surrender my hopelessness to God which brings me closer to the Holy Spirit.


27 March 2010

Lent: day 34

"I find hope in the wilderness when the angels come and and wait on me."

Jesus, Son of God (Mt. 4:11)

26 March 2010

Lent: day 33

I find hope in the wilderness when my granddaughter calls me to talk about God and heaven. She reminds me to keep it simple.

Helen Bowen-Ingram, Presbyterian Welcome Board Member

25 March 2010

Lent: day 32

I find hope in the wilderness when I remember that the dawn will come again. It is that memory of light which reveals traces of grace in the living of these days.

Jacqui VanVliet

24 March 2010

Lent: day 31

I find hope in the wilderness when the Spirit's detour is more scenic and inspiring than the way I wanted to go.

Derrick McQueen, Presbyterian Welcome Board Member

23 March 2010

Lent: day 30

I find hope in the wilderness when the sun beams through the clouds and shines on the earth and our lives.

Rev. David Cockcroft, Pastor Emeritus, Riverdale Presbyterian Church, Bronx NY

22 March 2010

Lent: day 29

I find hope in the wilderness when I recognize it as a place I'd been through before, and had been delivered enriched.

Takako Suzuki Terino, Presbyterian Welcome Board Member

20 March 2010

Lent: day 28

I find hope in the wilderness when children laugh and hug each other.

Anonymous Father

19 March 2010

Lent: day 27

I find hope in the wilderness when strangers gather to eat, and somewhere along the line, become friends.

Emily Scott, St. Lydia's, stlydias.org

18 March 2010

Lent: day 26

I find hope in the wildness when my very conservative 91 year old mother in law said, "gays are God's children too." Praise the Lord!

Isabel Morales, NYC

17 March 2010

Lent: day 25

What give you hope in the wilderness?

"Jesus wept." He felt our pain. He was in the wilderness and understands our pain. He knows how it feels--even in the wilderness.

New York City

16 March 2010

Lent: day 24

I find hope in the wilderness when I'm so tired even my bones are crying but my feet keep moving forward.

Rev. Beth Waltemath
Associate Pastor
First Presbyterian Church Brooklyn

15 March 2010

Lent: day 23

I find hope in the wilderness.... one step at a time.

The wilderness of discrimination and prejudice can seem like a place of endless despair. The only way I can journey through that wilderness is to hold onto my faith in God, the hand of my brother and sister, and take it one step at a time. The journey toward ordination for our GLBTQ members has felt like a journey through the wilderness and I only began the journey 14 years ago! The disappointment at General Assembly after General Assembly is difficult to bear. But in those moments I have found that there is a community of grace and love holding one another, bearing one another's burden, helping each one to stand and take another step. Those who have been working for ordination far longer than I are a pillar of fire that lead and inspire us to persevere.

But the greatest source of hope I find in the wilderness is in the eyes of those who are waiting for the church to change. One of those people is my brother. My brothers and I grew up in a conservative Presbyterian home where homosexuality was condemned and often made fun of. This became even more so when my brother told our parents that he was gay. The way to deal with his news was to use Scripture as a weapon and to ridicule homosexuality while pushing him to date girls. He was never supposed to talk about it or say anything to his brothers and me.

Imagine my brother's surprise when he learned that my husband and I were supportive of the gay community and supported the work of groups like MLP, The Witherspoon Society, and Presbyterian Welcome. It was if my brother had found an oasis in the wilderness. He told me his story of rejection by our parents. He introduced me to his partner of more than 20 years, who until then was never seen or spoken of. He shared with me the pain of feeling not completely welcome in the Church - even in congregations that say they support ordination of gays, but because of the Book of Order they refuse to ordain. He talked about how much he hoped for a day when he could feel unconditionally loved in the Church. Even as I saw his hope, I became a source of hope for him that one day the Presbyterian church would understand and change. God's restorative love touched us as we grew into a new understanding of one another; our relationship renewed. The hope in his eyes, mixed with pain, speaks volumes and has encouraged me to keep on, one step at a time, teaching, encouraging and supporting until that day when all may freely serve! May it be soon, gracious God, may it be soon

The Rev. Sue Trigger
co-pastor First Presbyterian Church
Rockaway, NJ

13 March 2010

Lent: day 22

I find hope in the wilderness when I realize that every step of the journey I am accompanied by a great cloud of witnesses, all of whom have walked this road before. They know what provisions we need. They teach me songs to sing at night when sitting before the flickering flames. They hold me when I am overwhelmed by fear, and the fear is vanquished.

Rev. Patricia J. Raube
Designated Pastor
Union Presbyterian Church
Endicott, NY

12 March 2010

Lent: day 21

I find hope in the wilderness when I notice tracks in my path that remind me that though I may feel alone in the wilderness, I am anything but...

The Rev. Sarah McCaslin, M.Div., LMSW
Associate Pastor for Congregational Care and Mission
The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York

11 March 2010

Lent: day 20

What gets you through the wilderness?
"The lingering exhilaration of the transfiguring mountaintop, the shimmering hope of Easter."

Skip Dunford

10 March 2010

Lent: day 19

I find hope in the wilderness when I can be close to water. It connects me to the Biblical days--all the Bible stories about water, and to baptism.

Dermonte Alleyne
Facilities Manager, Rutgers Presbyterian Church

09 March 2010

Lent: day 18

I find hope in the wilderness when, in the middle of yet another freaking growth opportunity (with a different head of hair), I remember that, even though I may have entered the wilderness by myself, I am not alone, and will need the help of others to get out, if, I am willing to ask for help, and open to receive it when it presents itself.

Elder Jeremiah

08 March 2010

Lent: day 17

“I find hope in the wilderness when…”

“…I get to see my ‘rainbow friends.’” I am what is commonly termed a “GA junkie.” It doesn’t matter where the General Assembly is being held, I want to be there and so does my entire family. My wife and co-pastor started attending with me in 1996. My 21-year-old daughter has literally grown up going to General Assemblies, including serving as a YAD and a Youth Liaison with the Covenant Network. But it’s our 8-year-old son who really helps put it in perspective. Whenever he hears we’re going to another General Assembly, he gets excited and says, “I get to see my rainbow friends!”

He’s used that term ever since he was 4 years old, attending the 2006 General Assembly in Birmingham. Our family was there and his sister was serving as a YAD and when his parents were busy, people at the booths of the Witherspoon Society, Voices of Sophia, and More Light Presbyterians took turns playing with him and making him feel welcome. Our son’s experience with his “rainbow friends” has made him feel a special connection within the church.

It’s those “rainbow friends” that also give me hope. I don’t attend the General Assembly simply to help work on social justice issues; I attend because I need to experience the kind of welcoming and hopeful atmosphere that I feel in the presence of fellow Presbyterians. While I look forward to that wonderful worship service where thousands of Presbyterians gather on a Sunday morning at the beginning of the Assembly, it still doesn’t compare to the More Light worship service where so many different voices are raised in song and where there is a real sense of praise to God. Somehow, when we gather in a place where all of us come together as “strangers” and we get the chance to see the great variety of humanity present in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), my hope is renewed that we will begin to appreciate our differences and not merely tolerate them, or worse, to use those differences to separate us from one another.

It’s my “rainbow friends” that give me hope and I give thanks for them daily.

The Rev. Mitch Trigger
Rockaway, New Jersey

06 March 2010

Lent: day 16

I find hope in the wilderness when I remember that I am not alone, that wilderness is a shared part of our journey of faith, that not only did an entire people wander, led by a cloud and a pillar of fire, but that I try to follow a Jesus whose own walk in the wilderness brought him closer to his calling.

The Reverend Laura Cunningham
Pastor Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church
Pearl River, NY

05 March 2010

Lent: day 15

I find hope in the wilderness when I remember my centering prayer: "Thou art with me. Thy will be done."

Jenny Howard, M.Div. student, Louisville Seminary

04 March 2010

Lent: day 14

What gets you through the wilderness?
"Jesus and music...and the bucket with which to carry a tune."

Donna Konias

03 March 2010

Lent: day 13

I find hope in the wilderness when I travel with those willing to set their face toward Jerusalem, as Jesus did, to set aside safety and comfort - in order to serve others, regardless of the cost.

Ray Bagnuolo, Pastor Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House
Openly gay Minister of Word and Sacrament PC(USA), Board Member of MLP

02 March 2010

Lent: day 12

I find hope in the wilderness when even a sightless man can see transgender people have rights.

Anna Taylor Sweringen
Presbyterian Welcome Board Member

01 March 2010

Lent: day 11

I find hope in the Wilderness when...
Portion of a letter sent to Meg Harper in October, 2009, from Earl Brown, Jr.- serving his 23rd year in jail and at this time in solitary confinement:

Please do not let yourself cry. There is a window, I can see trees and sky beyond the fences and razor wire. I can open it slightly and get fresh air and I am never really alone. Please remember that the things of beauty that I find rest in can’t be taken from me.

So my dear friend, Jesus had his forty days wilderness experience, Moses had 40 years…the Buddah had his Tree… and Muhammad his Cave; A pattern and example to know and understand the I Am in us all. So no problem with Shoe (Earl’s nickname) and 4 months of solitary. May the Love, Power, and Peace, the Mystery that has been hidden from the ages… √áhrist in You, Your Hope of Glory. be clear and dear to you, whose tears have taken your soul to the laundry mat, making you clean, without spot of blemish, precious! As Ever, your Brother Earl, Jr.