|A Quilter of People|
My grandparents lived long contented Christian lives. Grandma Dora lived to 102 and Grandpa, whom I called Pop, lived to 97. I had the privilege of performing their funeral. I likened my Pop to a "high-yield garden" and my dear Grandma to a "beloved old quilt." Grandma had given me a quilt top she pieced together so before the funeral I found a quilter in my church to teach me some basic skills. I finished the quilt for display at the funeral. After the service, a crusty 94 year old woman came to me and proclaimed, "My name is Sadie. I quilted with your grandma for over 40 years at the Methodist church. I've seen your quiltin' and I've heard your preachin'. You stick to preachin!" I'm still quilting and I'm still preaching.
My favorite medium for quilts however, is not fabric but people. Bringing people together with their true emotions and spiritual needs is what I do, and I do this by building small groups where commitment to God and each other is taken very seriously. These small groups become rich quilts. Why, my whole life has been quilting folks together! I started my first small group Bible study in my basement when I was 15. I grew up in a stable, happy home: mom, dad, an older sister and brother. On Sunday we attended the United Church of Christ. There I learned to love tea and cookies--and God--passionately.
During high school I went to Young Life and Campaigners Bible study. I dated a guy named Stuart and hosted charade parties at my house nearly every weekend. As an eager adolescent Christian I memorized lots of scripture, including all of I Corinthians 13. When I was angry at someone, I would go into the bathroom and recite those verses, thus beginning some dysfunctional behavior. Being a true goodie-goodie, I brought home all A's and ran for every school office that I could. I worked, twirled a baton and also became involved in a Nazarene youth group.
At Whitworth College I learned the importance of doing justice, and doing mission work. I continued to subscribe to James' idea of faith and works. Although I wanted to become a doctor, everyone I knew thought I should become a minister. Following graduation and after a summer internship in youth ministries, I married my high school sweetheart. Stuart and we both went off to Princeton Theological Seminary to become ministers. After graduation, we began our ministry in Southern California at a Presbyterian church. I loved youth ministries.
While in Southern California, my world began to change. My world view expanded and so did our family. I became the mother of two wonderful, talented children, Ty and Brynn. My work with small groups continued even after we left California and moved to Portland. It was there my pastoral skills were directed into the business world. During my consulting work, I met Connie, who would eventually become my life partner. The next few years were wonderful and awful. I knew I loved Connie but the drama that plays out in a divorce and custody battle is scary. I was afraid I would lose my children, my profession and many long term friends. During the custody battle I was away from my children for the better part of two years. Connie was my support and my rock. In the end, Connie and I gained equal custody which is what we had wanted in the first place. Kids need both parents!
We love our time with the Brynn and Ty and consider it a privilege to share our lives together. I have loved my involvement in EC. At my first ConnECtion in 1994 I cried a lot. I was so relieved to find other gay and lesbian Christians like me. Last summer Connie and I took Ty and Brynn to the conference with us and they were warmly welcomed by many. Their impression of the gay and lesbian community is loving and wonderful. Now when we travel as a family, I sometimes quilt when Connie drives. As we live our lives in Gig Harbor, Washington, I am beginning a ministry with the gay and lesbian community in the Puget Sound area. Like I said earlier, my favorite medium for quilts is not fabric but people. After all, I've been quilting people together my whole life.