BWIM Celebrates Addie Davis by Tony Cartledge

Fifty years ago, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, NC, ordained Addie Davis, the first woman in Southern Baptist life to be so recognized. About 400 participants celebrated that anniversary as Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) met June 25 at First Baptist Church of Decatur, GA.

BWIM executive director Pam Durso praised Davis as a pioneer who served faithfully when she had no role models, becoming a mentor for others when there was very little encouragement for Baptist women to be involved in ministry.

Woodruff

The program featured former winners of the “Addie Davis Award,” including Shelley Hasty Woodruff (photo right), who won the “Addie Davis Excellence in Preaching Award” in 2007 and is a member of Watts Street Baptist Church.

Dorisanne Cooper (photo below), recently called as pastor of Watts Street, led the congregation in a time of communion.

Dorisanne Cooper

Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, MS, was honored with the 2014 BWIM “Church of Excellence Award” for its persistent support of women in ministry.

Sue Fitzgerald (photo below) of North Carolina was recognized with the 2014 Frankie Huff Granger Distinguished Mentor Award. Fitzgerald served a number of churches over the course of 60 years in ministry. She was ordained by Mars Hill Baptist Church in Mars Hill, NC, in 1973, and instituted the Center for Christian Education Ministries at Mars Hill College, leading it for 20 years.

 Erica Evans Whitaker, nearing graduation from Truett Theological Seminary, received the 2014 “Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry.” Whitaker is minister of outreach at Agape Baptist Church in Forth Worth, TX.

Sue Fitzgerald, recipient of the Frankie Huff Granger Distinguished Mentor Award, led the benediction.

Racquel Gill, a student at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC, was recognized with the 2014 “Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching.” Gill was licensed to preach by St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Winnsboro, SC, when she was just 14 years old, and ordained by the same church at age 18. She has traveled widely in a ministry of preaching in churches and at youth events.

Following lunch, BWIM participants honored Durso for five years of service as executive director of the Atlanta-based organization.

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Tony Cartledge’s post about the BWIM annual gathering is used with permission of Baptists Today. His originial post is found on the Baptists Today blog.

Women Ministers by Dennis W. Foust

Dennis FoustIn 1991, at the conclusion of an evening of worship during one of the early meetings of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a woman was in tears sitting alone on the back pew of the sanctuary. I knew her and sat down on the pew in front of her just to offer a presence. As she gained her composure, she said, “Dennis, God has called me to serve the church. I have completed seminary and I am gifted for ministry. But, my home church refuses to ordain me.” I tried to offer encouragement, suggesting that she was a pioneer and that pioneers often move forward without the blessing of others, without being understood. Pioneers never live in structures already constructed by others. They make trails which others eventually find and follow.

This past Sunday, August 4, 2013, it was my blessing to gather with others in the sanctuary of Central Baptist Church, in Richmond, Virginia, for the ordination of Mary Beth Gilbert Foust, our daughter-in-law. She was set apart to a life of vocational and professional ministry through Christ’s church. Mary Beth is married to our son, Caleb. They both graduated from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond this past spring. Along with her family and close friends, Paula and I have witnessed her commitment to a life of servitude, experienced her concern for the poor, discussed her call to vocational ministry, and noted her desire for congregations to pursue excellence. So, when Central Baptist approached Mary Beth to discuss ordination, it was no surprise to us.

Mary Beth Foust 1Last year, Mary Beth read scripture for Caleb’s ordination. Last Sunday, Caleb read scripture for her service. Laying hands on Mary Beth last Sunday were her sister, Katie, and her mother, Karen, both ordained ministers of the gospel and active members of Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM). BWIM emerged as an inspired idea in the spirits of some brave women in the 1970s and found its organizational legs in the early 1980s. Here is the rest of this story!

 On October 3-5, 1982, St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted a national conference entitled, “Theology is a Verb.” One report during that conference was, Issues Affecting Women. As a result of that conference, wheels began to turn and soon thereafter, BWIM became an organization.

 One of the many wonderful characteristics about St. John’s is that the congregation is supportive of women ministers. In fact, long before most congregations of any denomination–and way ahead of most Baptists–St. John’s ordained women for ministry. Our church is so accustomed to women ministers that we cannot fathom why some narrow-minded congregations consider us to be odd at best or ungodly at worst for embracing women ministers.

So, last Sunday, as I worshipped God in Richmond, our associate minister, Martha Kearse, proclaimed from the St. John’s pulpit. And, last Sunday, as I walked forward to place my hands on Mary Beth’s head to offer a word of blessing, I also saw the face of my pioneer friend from twenty-two years ago. In fact, I saw her footprints on the trail which passed through St. John’s in 1982.

Shalom to all the pioneers out there and to all those who pick up their trail along the journey!

Dennis W. Foust is senior minister of St. John’s Baptist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina. 

What’s New to You? by Tammy Abee Blom

Tammy Abee Blom preachingEve whispered in my ear, “I am so disappointed.” I whispered back, “Me too. Should we get Audrey and go?”

As we left the penguin exhibit at the zoo, both girls were hurling complaints at me. They were riled at the presenter, who had arrived five minutes late, never acknowledged the crowd with a smile or a welcome, and then proceeded to talk in a hushed, monotone merely reciting what she had obviously recited to hordes of children before. The complaints were coming quickly, “We got there early.” “I couldn’t hear her.” “She said there were boys and girls. Which ones are the girls?”

The presenter lost an interested audience, who wanted to know all about penguins. Instead our presenter actually yawned widely during her presentation.

Leading Sunday School week after week can tempt me into boredom. Summer seems to be the time when I become automatic and routine. Lesson preparation feels like drudgery because I feel certain there is no new song, no new Bible story, no new craft or interesting game under the sun. I feel uninspired, and I feel like my well of good ideas has run dry. However, after my experience at the zoo, I realized how important it is to find the new twist, idea or concept in the Bible story so I can relate it to the children.

Having experienced first hand what it was like to have disappointed children, I want the children in my class to be inspired and engaged. To do this, I have begun asking myself, “What is new about this Bible story?” When I read the text in preparation for the lesson, I ask, “What didn’t I know or see before?” Once I have hit on the new to me idea, I get energy and enthusiasm for planning the craft and games. And better yet, I feel inspired to tell the Bible story.

Summer can feel long and dry. However when our congregants come to worship, it is our role to present the good news . . . without a monotone or a yawn. What’s new to you?

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Your Words Met a Need by Jayne Davis

jayne DavisI’ll never forget the words scribbled at the end of my divinity school theology paper.  “Your words met a need in my own life.  I look forward to your future ministry.”

Future ministry?  I hadn’t even imagined that far ahead!  It is amazing how a word of encouragement, an affirmation that you are on the right track, can propel you into God’s future with passion and possibility.

Churches need encouragement that God is up to something in our midst.  Pastors need affirmation that they don’t walk this road alone.  We all need friends on the journey who notice the Spirit at work, who sharpen our thinking and stretch our imagination in ministry and in life.

That is the premise on which Hopeful Imagination was born in 2009.  As a staff at First Baptist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, we felt God calling us to speak a word of hope and encouragement to pastors and to churches who were discouraged or stuck or just seeking a fresh wind for their sails to move into God’s future for their churches  So we decided to invite anyone who wanted to come to join us at our place to listen to stories of what God had been doing at our place.  We had no ‘models for ministry’ to share, only stories of transformation and hope; testimonies to what God can do if we give him room.

We partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, the Columbia Partnership, and the Center for Congregational Health, and in October 2010, we held the Hopeful Imagination conference–“encouraging traditional churches seeking God’s direction in a changing world.”  If seventy-five to one hundred folks had showed up, we would have been overjoyed.  Nearly 350 people from forty-five churches in five states made their way to Wilmington.  Why?  Because the church is hungry for words of Hope and in need of one another to spark creativity and imagination.

Today, Hopeful Imagination continues as a ministry to local churches and pastors.  Most recently we have added a spiritual formation page to our website, providing a space where folks involved in spiritual formation can find and share ministry ideas, spiritual practices and Christian education resources.  Each week the site is updated with a new idea, article or resource.

Hopeful Imagination is about churches encouraging churches. There are many great things happening in our congregations worthy to be shared and many more that could happen with some fresh ideas and a word of hope.

Baptist women in ministry–individually and collectively–thank you for the encouragement that you are to me and to the body of Christ.  “You have met a need in my own life.  I look forward to your future ministry.”

Grace,

Jayne Davis

 

Jayne Davis is the minister of spiritual formation at First Baptist Church, Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Feast by Jenny Call

Jenny CallAs a Baptist, I grew up associating food and religion. There was nothing better than a potluck after church—we would always have fried chicken, of course, and a table filled with desserts. I loved the way the smell of the meal permeated the sanctuary, along with the sounds of people working in the kitchen and preparing the fellowship hall. Something about those days just seemed more holy. It makes sense as I think about the many times Jesus taught around the table, or shared stories that dealt with food. The celebrations of many faiths are built around “feast days” where the faithful come around the table to share, to remember, and to be in community.

There is something about gathering around the table—when sitting, we are on the same level. We see the eyes and the smiles of friends, and the weight of the daily cares fall away. We can stop our busyness and preparations and enjoy a different rhythm of time. Our senses are engaged as we pass the bowls and smell the meal. Our mouths water in anticipation and laughter fills the space as we talk with one another. Food that is shared always tastes better.

VBWIM 2013When I think of a feast, the food is central, but it is more than just the eating; it is the act of gathering together, the anticipation of celebrating a day out of the ordinary with friends. Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry’s annual Feast event is a beautiful example of this. On Friday, I attended my third such Feast. Upon arriving at Grace Baptist Church, I was welcomed into the space by friends on VBWIM’s Board. The tables were being set (as “setting the table” was this year’s theme). The perimeter of the room was an art gallery showcasing the work of many hands through photography, needlework, painting, and other arts and crafts. I was struck by the many ways we perceive and share God’s beauty in our world. But even more lovely were the opportunities to connect and reconnect with other women in ministry. Though we are separated geographically and by different ministries, it is always renewing when our paths and stories intersect. We are all bound by our calling and our shared struggles and successes. I was able to talk in person with those I’ve only “known” through Facebook, and even spend more quality time with close friends than our schedules normally allow.

VBWIM 2013 3As we gathered around the tables, our hunger was sated by the Word shared through liturgy, song, scripture, and sermons. Judith Bledsoe Bailey, Pam Durso, Betty Pugh Mills, and Mandy England Cole preached messages about the women who had set the table before us so that we could find our places. Through the stories of women, both named and unnamed, we were filled with the important legacy that has been created through their words and acts of service. And we were made aware that we continue to make places for other women at the table, those who will follow us and continue to advance the standing of women in ministry.

I always leave Feast filled . . . with good food, yes, but also with affirmation and support from my sisters in ministry and by the many others who offer their encouragement. It is a time of spiritual renewal, a creative outlet, and an event of unparalleled hospitality where I don’t have to question where I stand, but know that my place has already been lovingly set for me at the table.

Jenny Call is university chaplain at Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia.

Standing Watch by Tammy Abee Blom

Tammy Blom photoIt was a typical morning in our neighborhood. I was walking down the driveway to get the newspaper. Mrs. D was loading her car for work, while Mr. S was walking his two dogs. Suddenly the abnormal happened. One of the toddlers from next door came running out his garage door, making a beeline for the street. The three adults snapped to attention. I knew if the toddler was on the loose it was because he had slipped out while Mom was gathering all the supplies for preschool. Mr. S walked over to the curb of the toddler’s house. I started across the street to watch for cars, and Mrs. D had her cell phone ready in her hand. All of us expected Mom to appear shortly; but until then, we were standing watch to make sure our toddler friend was safe. Sure enough, in moments, Mom came tearing out the door calling the toddler’s name. She scooped him up in relief, and the three watchers went on about our business. I don’t think Mom even realized we were there, but the three of us exchanged knowing nods. This child is one of our own, and it is our privilege to watch out for him.

Standing watch is a primary element of ministry. Chaplains watch over patients as they struggle with illness and death. They watch over the medical staff as they tend the sick and dying. Pastors sit in waiting rooms with families, anticipating news of surgical outcomes. They hold the hands of those who have lost jobs or relationships. Ministers send emails to divorcees and widows on holidays, reminding those who have lost that they are not alone.

We stand watch because we have claimed the congregation as our own. Not only are these our people, but this is our calling. When God called us to ministry, we were called to be a symbol of God’s presence with God’s people. So it is our privilege to walk the journey, to share the joys and the sorrows, and to be present when no words will help. It is our privilege to stand watch, but we are not the ones expected to swoop in and save. We know God is nearby. God can heal, redeem, and sustain. Our role is to be faithfully watching out for our people while expectantly waiting for God.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Susan B. Anthony and Dorothy Thompson: An Election Day Story by Meredith Stone

So I didn’t want to vote today. I decided first thing this morning that I just was not going to do it. It is hard to know who and what to believe in these campaigns, and frankly I just did not want to be involved in the bitterness of the whole thing.

But for some reason I kept my eye on Facebook today. People kept talking about voting. Some had very nice and kind posts that talked about harmony, prayers, and election day communion. Others were a little more harsh. Then one post caught my eye. My high school friend, Summer Stewart, whom I haven’t seen in years, posted this, “Exercising my Nineteenth Amendment right.  Thanks Susan B. Anthony.”

Then I remembered.

As a Baptist woman minister my vocation and calling are defined by my belief in Galatians 3:28–that in Christ there is no male or female, slave nor free, Greek nor Jew. As someone with that belief and an identity which is defined by equality, am I really going to spit in Susan B.’s face by not voting?

Hmmm . . . so I decided maybe I should vote.

Feeling like I needed to look like a real person to vote, I changed out of my work-at-home clothes (T-shirt, jeans, and comfy sweater) into my Texas Baptists polo. At least I would look official. I went down the street to the Pentecostal church, gave them my license, and let them get me all signed up and ready to go.

But just then the silver-haired lady who wrote my name down on line number 51 looked up and seeing my shirt she said, “Texas Baptists? Do you work for Texas Baptists?” And I responded, “Yes, I do.” Of course, I already feared the next question . . . and she asked it: “What do you do with Texas Baptists?” I shrugged and replied, “Well, I work with women in ministry.” I find this conversation about my job is always difficult to have with strangers when I have no clue as to how they will respond.

Dorothy (by now I’ve looked at her name tag) looked off to the side and said, “Really? That is fantastic! I’m an ordained Baptist minister myself.” I was a little shocked and taken back, but I had the presence of mind to ask about her ministry. We started talking, and she told me that she is retired now but among the ministries in which she had served was a staff position at Second Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. She was ordained there in 1982. With a gleam of pride in her eyes she said, “I was the first Baptist woman ordained west of Fort Worth.”

We talked a little more about people we knew in common and the Episcopal church she now attends, but then our conversation ended. I voted and left to head toward the bank. Sitting in the bank drive-thru line, I realized what an amazing moment I just had. So as soon as I made my deposit I searched through my purse for a business card (it looked pretty ragged after being found at the bottom of a mom’s purse) and returned to the Pentecostal church. I walked in, gave Dorothy my card, and told her that I would like it very much if we could have lunch sometime and if she would tell me all her stories. I could tell that it meant a lot to her that a young Baptist woman in ministry valued her saga. After she thanked me and promised to call, she said, “Well I get that Voc . . . Vocar, what’s it called?”  I told her it is Vocare from Baptist Women in Ministry and she told me, “Well, I remembered when we were trying to get that group going back in the early ’80s.”

I almost decided not to vote today, but if I had I would have missed meeting my newest friend–one of the women who saw the need for Baptist Women in Ministry to be started almost thirty years ago, and one of the women who paved the way for this young Baptist woman minister to be ordained west of Fort Worth.

Needless to say, I’m glad I voted . . . and I’m glad to have heroes like Susan B. Anthony and Dorothy Thompson.

Meredith serves as Women in Ministry Specialist for Texas Baptists and lives and votes in Abilene, Texas. 

A Holy Encounter by Courtney Allen

Courtney Allen (in the white stole) on the day of her ordination.

It was a holy encounter . . . one I did not expect and almost did not show up for. I suppose that is how such holy encounters usually happen, unexpectedly and nearly missed. With her cheeks near my ear I heard, “I don’t know if you remember me, but . . . ” As soon as she spoke those words, I immediately sensed the connection and reason for this great embrace. “I was a friend of Barbara’s, and I remember you when you were this tall,” she said motioning with her hand.

This unexpected and nearly missed holy encounter with Grace Powell Freeman at the Baptist Women in Ministry Meeting of Georgia gathering in April brought tears to my eyes. Grace had been a dear friend to the first female minister I ever knew, and one of the most important holy women in the early years of my faith, Reverend Barbara Oliver. Like many others, I called her the “holy woman.” As she led me in worship, taught me in Bible Drill, and nurtured the Jesus into me as a young person, Barbara was, indeed, a holy woman, and I loved her with my whole heart.

My world and that of our congregation turned upside down when Barbara was diagnosed with leukemia. If we just prayed enough, God would help Barbara survive, and if everyone believed in God enough, everything would be okay. At least, this is what my young self and faith believed about the situation at hand. But, it was not okay, and Barbara’s bone marrow transplant was not successful in curing her disease.

I vaguely recall Grace coming to visit Barbara those many years ago in her final days with us, and knew that she was a special friend to this holy woman, who meant so much to me. And, unexpectedly a few months ago, I had a holy encounter with that sacred soul friend of the Holy Woman. The embrace Grace and I shared was in the midst of a great cloud of witnesses of other women in ministry, and in some ways it felt as if things had come full circle. I was now also an ordained minister of the Gospel, serving in the an area close to Grace, and we had embraced each other as two women bound together by our love for a dear, holy, and influential friend, whose life and death, had a significant impact upon our lives. Barbara’s death caused me to ask hard questions about God, and to a young girl her life was an example of what it means to be a woman in ministry and a witness to the wide embrace of God for all people, especially children.

Grace Powell Freeman (in the red stole) on the day she received her Church Woman of the Year Award.

To make this encounter even more remarkable was the fact that Grace Powell Freeman was honored that day by Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia as the “Church Woman of the Year” for her work and ministry with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel. Tears ran down my face as I watched her receive this award and listened as her colleagues witnessed to her gifts. I wished Barbara had been there with the two of us, and the whole host of us women that day. I suppose she was present with us in the way that her life, ministry, and death shaped me and Grace. In fact, I am certain of it.

This nearly missed holy encounter reminded me of several things. One, showing up and participating in the fellowship of groups like Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia is important for me both as a minister and as a child of God. You never know who or what you might encounter by choosing to be present with these women. Two, the lives of those who have influenced me continue to live on and be important way beyond the years of those well-lived and influential lives. And three, the relationships among women in ministry and their ability to impact and shape future generations of ministers is rich and essential, holy and more important than any of us might ever imagine.

I hope somewhere near the right hand of God, Barbara has gotten word that I am a Baptist woman in ministry now and that her old friend Grace continues to do remarkable ministry with missionaries all over the globe. And if for some reason heaven doesn’t work like that and messages do not get delivered that way, I am certain that this holy encounter made the heart of God smile as two sisters in Christ embraced and recalled the life of one of God’s servants, our holy sister, Barbara, whom we loved deeply.

Courtney Allen is minister of community ministries and missions at First Baptist Church, Dalton, Georgia. Courtney blogs at On Seeing the Sacred and this post is from her blog!

You? Me, Too! by Tammy Abee Blom

Our girls were happily engaged in gymnastics class, and a fellow mom and I were sitting in our favorite coffee shop. We had met at the gymnastics class a few weeks before, and since we were both new to Columbia, South Carolina, we decided to have a cup of coffee and chat. Our girls are close in ages so we were chatting about birthday parties, local preschools, and how hard it felt to get to know other moms in the area.

I shared about a birthday party I had attended with my older daughter and how I answered a lot of questions but didn’t really connect with anyone. She laughed and said, “I bet they asked you the standard three.” She explained, “When people want to figure out where you fit, they ask, ‘Where does your husband work? What college did you attend? And, which church do you go to?’” I was shocked into silence. Somehow she had illuminated my recent encounters. With amazement I said, “You are so right. I have answered those questions over and over again.” She said, “Yep. They are trying to figure you out.” That spark of “That happened to you? Me, too!” launched one of my very first friendships in South Carolina.

I read somewhere friendships are born when the stories of two people connect. When you are in a conversation with someone and you share common experiences, a friendship can begin.

It is important to have friends who share our ministry experience. Ministers should have friends who are ministers, mainly because the opportunities are boundless for one minister to say, “That happened to you? Me too! Let me tell you about it.” When ministers connect with friends who are in ministry, we become smarter, braver, and kinder.

Our minister friends can share their stories about how they engaged conflict or crafted a sermon and we can learn from each other. We are smarter together. Also, I find myself braver when I know I am not the only woman in ministry who has been chastised for her choice of high heels in the pulpit. A friend of mine shared about riding a motorcycle to her preaching engagement when she was noticeably pregnant. With a story like that, I can manage comments about my shoes. And we become kinder. Goodness knows we need to be kinder to ourselves. Being a mother leads to constant self guessing. Add a congregation or non profit to the mix and we can become a ball of anxiety about what we are not getting done. My minister friends remind me that I am enough just as I am, and the tasks on the list will get done, all in due time. Friends in ministry share our journeys because they are on a similar journey.

Ministers have a natural connection because of our roles. There are universal stories about serving a congregation. If we develop friendships with other ministers, we don’t go it alone. We can hear our friend’s story and say, “That happened to you? Me, too!”

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Let’s Celebrate! by Tammy Abee Blom

School was out for the summer, and both girls asked, “How are we going to celebrate?” I thought we had celebrated with a trip to the ice cream shop on the last day of school. But the girls were requesting another celebration. Digging through the pantry I found graham crackers, a chocolate bar left over from Valentine’s Day, and a bag of large marshmallows. S’mores! What is more celebratory than S’mores?

As Doug, the girls, and I sat around the fire, licking sticky marshmallow off our fingers, I looked at the happy faces and thought, “What a peaceful moment. The girls are smiling. Everybody is deliciously full. And we don’t have to get up and go anywhere. This is good.”

In Eternal Echoes, John O’Donohue expresses what I was feeling as my family lingered together after the S’mores. He writes, “The desire to celebrate is the longing to enter more deeply into the mystery of actuality.” To celebrate is to spotlight what is good right now. Celebrations do not focus on the past or the future. When we celebrate we are not longing to go back to a different time or jump ahead to what comes next. Celebrations joyously embrace the now and honor the goodness of the moment.

Audrey, my kindergartener, attended a school friend’s birthday party. After the children had played to exhaustion, they all gathered around the birthday girl and sang, “Happy Birthday.” The birthday girl grinned in delight and then blew out the candles on the cake while all her friends cheered.  The clapping for a friend turning six years old was the perfect moment because they were acknowledging how good it was to celebrate this milestone with this friend.

In church, we gather around the table and sing, but do we celebrate? Often communion is called “Celebrating the Eucharist,” but we tend to focus more on the sacrifice of Jesus’ life for the forgiveness of sins than the celebratory nature of coming to the table.  As we receive the bread and cup, we can celebrate the goodness of this moment with these people in this particular place. No church is perfect, and we can name our frustrations with the shortcomings of our church. But when we gather around the table, we should pause for a moment to name something good and right with our church family. Coming to the table is a time of remembrance but it also a celebration of a meal among family.

When we celebrate, we honor the present. We don’t have to worry over how we could have done something differently a day or year before, and we don’t have to stress over decisions to be made tomorrow. We are in the now. There is redemptive power in recognizing the value of the now. When we relax into the goodness of this moment and refrain from trying to fix the past or anticipate the future, our souls can be at peace. As my summer continues, I plan to look for ways to celebrate the now and to relax into the peace of the moment.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.