Any personal statement of faith I could ever write or proclaim has echoes of wisdom taught to me by Presbyterian Women at my home church, Fort Hill Presbyterian Church—from the wisdom, patience and kindness I continue to learn from my grandmother (Frances Caskey, a PW with an Honorary Life Membership and an active role in a weekly circle since my mother was a child) to the no-nonsense lessons taught to me by the women teaching Sunday School and serving as confirmation partners and fellow ruling elders. One lesson I hold in a special place is the lesson I learned from one of the wisest women I know. We were having a Bible study on the creation story in Genesis. After we youth discussed and debated what we believed about how the world was created, our teacher, Hazel Sparks, told us that the important part of the story has nothing to do with how long it took (or is taking) for creation to occur; instead, what matters is God’s presence and God’s role in all of creation and in the creation of each new day. I cherish that wisdom.
This summer, when I was at home between grad school programs, I was invited to one PW circle’s knitting/Bible study group. As I sat with these giants of my childhood, I realized that anywhere in my vocation and life I go, I began my journey among some of the most brilliant, powerful, supportive women and in my church community.
The PW at Harpeth Presbyterian Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, where I served as Christian educator, showed me welcome and hospitality when I truly needed it. They invited the church staff to share lunch with them at their monthly meetings, and checked in with me in a way that in seminary we learn to call “pastoring.”
In March 2014, I spent two weeks at the Presbyterian Office at the United Nations. I was there as part of a group of young women in the church, and we were blessed to be partnered with PW who were also in town for the Commission on the Status of Women. At orientation and throughout the week, in meals and meetings, we met and moved through this powerful experience together. I became more informed about what PW is doing at the national level—supporting ministries and programs that empower people, especially women and children, through advocacy, education, job training, nutrition and health programs and other tools people around the world need to survive and thrive.”