More Questions and Answers

from reverend mommy:

1) You have a refrigerator box and can take only 10 things from your home (excluding pets and children) — what would you take?
It’s a good thing the pets aren’t included, because that would be all that would fit!
1. I have an 1895 music box that belonged to my greatgrandmother. It’s a real treasure chest to me. As a child I used to play the songs over and over and make up stories to go along with them. My kids don’t go near it, which is a bit disappointing. What else?
2. Photo albums (does that count as one?) If I had to choose one picture it would be a photo of my three children taken in 1997; it’s framed and sits on my piano.
3. A painting that hung in my parents’ house; it’s a seascape by Walter Elmer Schofield. I think it’s valuable now, but I love it because it’s familiar and also because it fed my youthful imagination.
4. Framed print of Lake Chocorua in autumn with Mount Chocorua in the background. Don and I got married on top of Mount Chocorua, and it was while swimming in the lake that he first said he loved me.
5. I have a sceptre. Don gave it to me three years ago after a six-month search for such a thing. It has a purple ball on top, because purple is my favorite color. It was a response to my saying that I had an inner princess who was unhappy; he wanted to encourage her to grow up and be a queen.
6. The Bethlehem mother-of-pearl covered King James version New Testament my dad gave me when I was a little girl.
7. A Quimper plate that reminds me of my late mother-in-law.
8. A quilt made for my daughter out of fabric from my mother’s stash; she died before my daughter was born, and I love having that quilt made of fabric that had been in her hands.
9. A mirror I bought when I bought my house. It’s frame is made of old house moldings, but I would want it because its purchase represented my new view on life.
10. A sampler that has been in my family for going on 200 years, embroidered with these words of Isaac Watts, from Psalm 125:
Unshaken as the sacred hill,
And firm as mountains be,
Firm as a rock the soul shall rest
That leans, O Lord, on thee.

2) Who was the teacher that inspired you the most?
Mark Burrows, Church History professor at Andover Newton. I took two of his classes, one my first semester (1994), then another the semester I returned after thinking I had left seminary for good (2000). Both experiences were formative and inspirational. The first was a lecture class, a big survey, and the second was a tiny seminar in which we read Eliot’s Four Quartets and Dante’s Purgatorio. They were huge, huge milestones in my life, both of them. It was Prof. Burrows who commented on one of my early papers: “You have all the makings of a scholar-pastor, something that is needed desperately in our churches today.” When can I go back for that D.Min. in Biblical Studies?

3) Can you tell me about your call?
I always felt called to a life in the church, but growing up as a Southern Baptist, I never imagined being a minister myself, just marrying one! (Funny, given my other post today.) In my mid-20’s I moved to Maine and began meeting women clergy every where I turned. I had an “Aha!” This was something a woman *could* do!! Only over time did I discern the more specific call, but it’s absolutely true that in the year or so before I finally decided to go to seminary, I couldn’t sleep at night. I kept dreaming of the parable of the talents, then waking up! Eventually I realized that my particular set of gifts and talents were specially suited to ministry: the way people felt safe to tell me anything; the writing skill that seemed to have no right form until I began writing sermons; the drive to make meaning of things; and the absolute love for life in community. I fought it, because I feared being alone after my divorce and that no guy would want to take on a female minister with three children. But everything else I tried to do did not work out or truly felt meaningless; and once I decided to return to seminary, things fell into place. Ultimately I trusted that if God had called me to both ministry and motherhood, it would all work out somehow. I suppose this could be applied to marriage, too. Thanks for asking the question!

1 thought on “More Questions and Answers”

  1. I’m writing a book about Walter Elmer Schofield. I’d be happy to look at an image of the painting you mention. If it is a seascape, it is most likely from Cornwall, England, or nearby. He married an English woman in 1896 and moved to England a few years later. Could you take a digital photo of the painting and email it to me? I’m an Art History professor at Susquehanna University and writing a book that will accompany an exhibition at the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA to open Dec 2009.
    Valerie Livingston

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