Tag Archives: God-talk

The Glover Christmas Letter 2015

Dear Friends,

This year comes to an end with a lot of changes, and has brought the Glover family to a place of excitement to see what our new year holds.  What kind of year was 2015?  Well, it’s been a year, to quote my ever-eloquent husband.

To put the best stuff up front, before you get tired of reading, Allen and I can sum up our year with a few short bullet points, lessons we’ve learned.  Perhaps these lessons are not so profound, and truth be told, we could learn them over again every year, yet for us right now here’s what life boils down to:

  • Health is an incredible gift that must be worked at, treasured and never taken for granted.
  • True community where you can be yourself is a rare find.
  • Kids and parents, hug them tight and keep them close while you have them.
This year's tree has a bird theme-- with a wise owl on top and about 50 handmade ornaments by yours truly!
This year’s tree has a bird theme– with a wise owl on top and about 50 handmade ornaments by yours truly!

2015 ended six years of service at St. John’s UCC in Catonsville, Maryland.  We’ve settled the family in Howard County in a little townhouse, and moved the boys into the local elementary school.  They both were having some trouble in Baltimore County schools, but in the new system they are both experiencing much-improved academic and social success!

Aaron’s talking more, not always a good thing (ha!), and his reading and writing have dramatically improved in 3rd grade.  He still loves Music Therapy, enjoying his second year with the talented Ms. Kerry.  Mark loves his 2nd grade class, and is making friends, doing great things in math, and enjoying a new-found love of graphic novels.

Last winter seemed too long in many ways:  I worried for my dad’s health, and Allen lost his father.  The experience did draw Allen and his sister Katina into a closer relationship, for which he’s very grateful.

I got inspired to start researching family genealogy again.  So far, we got Jenn’s family back to Irish, French, Swiss and German roots, and took Allen’s dad’s side back to John’s Island, South Carolina.  Now we just need a trip to Jamaica to research Allen’s mom’s side.

This summer, I took the boys, my parents and two cousins on a trip to Branson, MO.  We enjoyed a great stopover at my grandmother’s house in Tennessee.  In Springfield, we enjoyed a mini family reunion, and got to see about 40 of our Sowell-side family.  Given how much worry we’ve suffered about Dad’s health (he’s in remission now, but we worry always), it was good for everyone to get to spend some time with Granny and Pappaw.

I spent the summer interviewing with new churches, and announced in November that I will be the new pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Wheaton, Maryland.  Pilgrim is progressive, Open and Affirming (our UCC lingo for LGBT-welcoming churches), and had women pastors back in the 80’s—I think that’s so great!  All of us can’t wait until January when my service officially begins!

On a personal note of triumph for me, I’ve lost 60 pounds since the beginning of the summer.  It’s been a TON of hard work, and there’s still more work to do.  I haven’t felt this kind of personal achievement in a long time—it’s changed my way of thinking and acting and my energy is so much greater.  I feel proud that health is the goal far more than appearance.  Although looking thinner and wearing smaller clothing sure is nice.

Allen’s getting fitter, too, and both of us are enjoying Saturdays spent at the gym with the boys.  Mark and Aaron are taking jujitsu and swim lessons, and both are making progress, getting stronger and more coordinated.

Allen’s still in real estate in New York, working out of a small office in Brooklyn a few days a week, then telecommuting on days he’s in Maryland.  The commute is tough, but we both love living in Maryland and plan to build our home here.  We both look forward to settling down in our own home, and pray that day will come in the next year or two.

Our family hopes this letter finds you all healthy and happy.  If this year wasn’t what you’d hoped, next year holds the promise of something better.  We wish all our friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a Blessed and Peaceful New Year!

Love from our family to yours!

The Glovers

A Prayer for St. John’s UCC

This is one of my favorite prayers that I’ve written.  It came to me as I prepared for the Annual Meeting of the church in 2011.

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A Prayer for St. John’s UCC

God of stunning golden leaves and soft pink cherry blossoms,

God of children’s laughter and squeals of delight,

            We thank you for this place you share with us—

                                    this church that is St. John’s. 

Lord, you have filled this place with sweet songs, gurgling infants, and creaking bones—a wide and diverse gathering of your people: 

            and for this, we give you thanks. 

Holy One, you have taken a group of German immigrants building a house of faith and transformed them into a city on a hill—

            full of the joy of the gospel

            and welcoming all your children,

                        of all backgrounds, ages and races. 

            Again, for this, we give you thanks and praise. 

God who loves all the world and sent your Son to save it,

            We call on you this day and every day to strengthen your people of St. John’s to do the work of the Gospel: 

            to offer extravagant welcome to all you send through our doors;

            to share in heartfelt worship and praise;

            to serve as Jesus Christ taught us;

            and to open our hearts and minds to learning something new about you each day of our lives.

Each day, dear God, make clear for us the path which Jesus Christ showed us to follow. 

            Strengthen us by your unconditional love. 

            Fill us with your joy. 

            Guide us by your Holy Spirit. 

            Breathe in us the wisdom of being grateful for all you share with us.

We pray, this day and every day, you will shape our lives and our church into what you call us to be.

We offer this thanksgiving and praise, and we ask for this guidance in the name of the one whom we follow: Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

Grits and God-talk Finally Comes to Life!

Well, bless your heart, you’ve stumbled upon the internet home of Rev. Jennifer Sowell Glover.  Welcome!  This is the place where I ruminate a bit on God, share my thoughts on ministry, and celebrate my life and family.  And dream a dream or two, as well.

There cannot be God-talk without grits! These are spicy pepper cheese grits that accompanied VooDoo Salmon and succotash on Valentine’s Day 2014.

If you were in my actual house, like any good Southerner, I would apologize profusely for “the mess” (and unlike most Southerners, in my house there is an ACTUAL mess!), insist you sit in the most comfortable chair, and offer you something to drink or eat.  Since we are on the ‘net, I’ll just say a quick prayer of thanks that you can see my site without seeing my laundry pile!

Now, you may be asking yourself why on earth this blog is entitled “Grits and God-talk.”  It’s a good question.  It’s a title I’ve been tossing around in my head for about ten years now, and reflects where I’ve been and who I am.

Grits, as you might know, are a quintessential Southern food.  And while I’ve never been a huge fan of that “other” quintessential Southern food (sweet tea), I do love grits.  Good, fluffy, buttery grits.  One side of my Southern family loves them with sugar and butter, and that was my favorite for a long time.  The other side always preferred salt, pepper and butter– and when I met my husband and he suggested I add a little hot sauce, I was sold.  On him and the grits.

What you might not know about grits is that good ones can be hard to find.  Fluffy grits.  Often outside of the South, they are watery and overly gritty.  No good.  As much as I loved New York City, and as much as I love the area of Maryland where I currently live, both places could use some lessons in cooking grits!

Good grits are hard to find.  And so is good God-talk.  Honest God-talk.  God-talk that allows you to be yourself, have joy and great faith, wrestle with doubt and grief and hesitation.  God-talk that welcomes everyone and allows for differences.

And that is what I hope this blog will be.  A warm, welcome, and satisfying experience, like a bowl of grits made your favorite way.  A place where I can be myself, and you can be yourself.  And we can all celebrate that we are God’s beloved children, and that our differences are the thing that makes God so awesome– not the things to tear us apart!