July 16, 2021

It’s been a week since we gathered at Sewickley Cemetery for my sister’s Celebration of Life. Finding a minister to officiate was my task. I thought about calling the church of our youth, Kenmar Presbyterian Church. I thought about working through my UCC network. But it just so happens that Beth Wierman’s name kept coming to mind.

Beth and I were in the 2015-2016 cohort the Shalem’ Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program, while I was still living in Hawaii. She was impressed that I lived in Hawaii. I was impressed that she lived near Sewickley, PA.  She asked me all about Hawaii and I told her about my own family connection to Sewickley: my great-grandfather who taught music at Sewickley Academy and was the organist at St. Stephen’s Episcopal church; my birth at Sewickley hospital; my love of Sewickley cemetery. Beth, it turned out, walked regularly through the Sewickley Cemetery.

We hadn’t kept in touch, but I gave it a shot and asked her if she would officiate. She graciously accepted. The words she spoke at the service were gracious, personal, and honest. I was pastored. It was such a gift to be just me, a grieving sister.

I marvel at our “It just so happens” God. We just so happened to be in the same cohort, and in the same small group. We just happened to have a conversation about Sewickley. She just happened to be available to officiate the service. I don’t know how to explain such things, but I have a sense that it is evidence that God loves us and cares for us in ways beyond our human understanding. The Psalmist puts it this way, “Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.” Psalm 139:4

With gratitude to God ~ Anne

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