In the News


Last Sunday morning, I was preaching at Edgehill United Methodist Church, the church that’s been my home since 1979. I was filling in for our pastor, John Feldhacker, who was away that day. We celebrated Black History Month and the congregation’s history of diversity. I told stories about Edgehill saints: Marjorie Campbell, Laura McCray, and Moses Dillard. The scripture was the challenging text from Matthew 5: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

At the second service, I officiated over the Eucharist. It was the first time for me to have the honor to do so, having only recently received sacramental authority from the bishop here in the Tennessee conference. (A change in The United Methodist Discipline gave the option for deacons to be able to receive sacramental authority with permission of the resident bishop.)

It was such an honor to be able to welcome all people to the Lord’s table, to pray the prayer of Great Thanksgiving, to break the bread, to lift the cup, to share the gifts of bread and cup with the congregation.

A reporter who was at the service gathering footage for a story on Sanctuary Churches captured the moment when the bread was broken. This image ended up on the front page of the local paper on Thursday. A video from the service was in an article in USA Today on Wednesday.

Our church is just beginning to explore what it would mean if we declared ourselves a sanctuary church. It seems to be a strong calling for us. Edgehill has always responded to those who were in need of a home and I trust that we will find our way to be in ministry in a deeper way to immigrants here in Tennessee.

This week I saw, first hand, the power of social media. My photo was not just in the local paper. It showed up in papers around the country. On Saturday I was contacted by a long, lost friend in Germany who had seen the video on Facebook.

The experience has been a bit overwhelming to this introvert. I’m still recovering from my own intense experience of the “24-hour news cycle.” And … I’m grateful for the ability to share the Good News with the world about the ministry of churches like Edgehill who are listening to God’s calling and responding to the needs of the world.

Celebrating Dad


I’m still celebrating my saints. Today, Dad would have been 84 years old. I’m grateful for the gifts he gave me:

  • My love of “the family business.”  Dad was a United Methodist pastor and, since I was a little one, I wanted to be a preacher’s wife. In grade school, I finally met a woman pastor realized  that I could be clergy. So today I carry on the family business as an ordained Deacon appointed to The Upper Room and to Edgehill United Methodist Church. (I always enjoyed Dad’s delight when I would tell him my vocation during those last years when he was battling Alzheimer’s.)
  • Photography. I found this photo after he passed away. Dad took it in Mooreland, Oklahoma during my first year of life. It’s the only self-portrait I’ve seen: Dad shooting his picture into a mirror. The reflection in the table is of a picture of Grandpa Richardson.
  • Music. Dad had a beautiful tenor voice. I can remember him singing from the pulpit from time to time. Grandma Richardson was a music teacher who passed along her talent and love of music to Dad. And he passed it on to me. Today when I preach, I like to weave a song into the sermon.
  • Art. Dad began drawing and painting when I was in grade school. I’ve only just begun to test out this part of myself with the cartoons I’m drawing of Jack. I’ve been sketching daily cartoons (a sort of daily journal) for about five years. I remember Dad writing letters to us using cartoons instead of words.
  • A love of nature, watching birds, BBC, public radio, Mexican food … I could go on and on.

Dad’s legacy lives on in me. And I am grateful.

God of sunrises and sunsets, God of feeding birds and charcoal pencils, God of music and prayer, thank you the life of Charles H. Richardson. And thank you for his gifts to the world. May we remember Charles and, in remembering, give thanks to you, the Artist, Musician, and Loving Creator of life. Amen.