In this week when we’re getting ready – for the March for Our Lives this Saturday, for the Sunday we remember Jesus’s final entry into Jerusalem – I want to press pause on all that and remember someone whose life represents what we celebrate and value here at Western.
Fewer Westerners, myself included, remember the generation who worked to keep the church open in the 1980s, when some at the presbytery level thought the church’s days were numbered. This same generation of folks, for the most part, shouldered the move to the current location and struggled to keep Miriam’s Kitchen open in the 1990s.
Virginia Chandler, an important member of that generation, died recently at the age of 100. I never knew her, but I know from the light in the eyes of those who talk about her that Virginia was beloved. She lived her last decades in her native Wisconsin, but remained faithful in her financial investment in Western Church’s mission. I discovered from her obituary (thanks to Joan Bissell!) that Virginia was the first woman ordained as an elder at Western in 1966. Ari Brose let me know that she was her “choir mom” when Ari joined the choir, years later.
What better time than the beginning of Holy Week for us to pause to remember Virginia Chandler and all the ways the faith of those like her made the life of this church possible. God’s new life, the life we prepare to celebrate on Easter, happens all the time, even in the church, thanks to the faithful witness of folks like Virginia. Sometimes we know them personally, sometimes we don’t, but we still sense the impact of their faithfulness.
However you’re preparing to observe Holy Week with Western – marching on Saturday, joining the kids singing and waving Palms on Sunday, gathering with a group from Miriam’s Kitchen and Western on Maundy Thursday, or worshiping together at Northminster on Friday night – I invite you to stop for a moment and give thanks for the all the ways God’s already working resurrection among us.
Christ’s Peace, this week and always,