Twenty six years ago today I was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in Sturgis, KY. They were two small rural congregations 17 miles apart. I was ordained in what was the Northern and Southern Churches in a Union Presbytery of Western KY. We were in a Yoked parish with Morganfield. We worked as a clergy couple and were paid $12,000 a year salary. I was the first woman to serve in that Presbytery but not the first ordained there. There weren't many of us clergy women at the time. I remember the questions for ordination I was asked both denominations questions so about 25 different ones. I remember when the ministers came forward for the laying on of hands kneeling, six months pregnant, and the weight of the hands on my head. Time has changed some things.
I've served churches in Tennessee as intern, KY as Co-pastor, TX as Minister member-at-large (when the kids were little), Logan, Utah as Co-pastor for 12 years and now in southwest Oklahoma: Chattanooga, Frederick, Grandfield, Temple, Walters.
I've been given the opportunity to be with people at the most remarkable Holy times in their lives. --To have been invited into people's great joys and deepest sorrows. --To have laughed and cried with many.-- To be loved and unloved. --To have been heard and to have been misunderstood --To have grown in my love for God's presence in the world iin the church and to be challenged that there is so much work yet to be done.
God's presence has been real and close and sometimes far away. How blessed I am to have had these opportunites. I have visited India three times and seen the Gospel alive and vital and so perfectly expressed and lived in the lives of adults and children. It enriched my ministry in countless ways.
God's call on my life started when I was young at First Community Church in Columbus Ohio, with a ministers Revs. T. William Taylor, Dave Matthews, Gabe Campbell, Roy Burkhardt, Dick Horn, and as a camp counselor for Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Upper St. Claire, PA with Rev. Hetz March who said...Bobbie I've been thinking about you and I think you should consider ministry. (christmas 1969) , and many others.
Mainly and wholly I thank Rev. Dr. John McGarey who for 34 years has been my companion, my love, my husband, my partner, and my Co-pastor, and truest friend. (We met in September 1970 married in 72)
Always thank my children John Maurice McGarey ( Rev. Bill Peterson said he was probably ordained too)., Martha Elizabeth McGarey (Betsy) our daughter now in Medical school at OSU-COM in Tulsa, and Molly Balthrop McGarey, Johnny's wife, and a dear daughter too!
My mother-by love Dr. Gladys Taylor McGarey who is for me all I want to be for the world. She continues to love the world with her whole being.
And always God who has a sense of humor about my life to be sure. Like one of Betsy's friends once said, "I sometimes think my life is God's Comedy Chanel. You know when things get tough in the world God tunes in on my life and has a good laugh" about my frets and worries that are so very trivial and how I seem so surprised when things go as God ALWAYS knew they would go.
A song that I sing right now is the one Martina McBride sings. Love's The Only House
The choras I believe reminds us of what church is all about. "Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world.." .and that is what we are to do. Find ways in this hurting world to be a place of healing, and hope, and nourishment for body and soul. To be the people God calls to stand up for those who cannot stand, to speak for those who have no voice, to be in the world the gatherers who bring in those who are separated from their own heart and the knowledge that at once seems so simple and too wonderful...God knows YOU and Loves you Still!
Thanks be to God have a great day