The Path to Old Stone Church
These first few months as Senior Pastor of the Old Stone Church, First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland have been filled with so many blessings. I couldn’t think of a better symbol to represent this than the Triskele.
The Triskele is one of the oldest Celtic symbols, appearing in carvings made during Neolithic times or around 3200 BC. The spirals create an interlocking three path labyrinth. The labyrinth itself invoking the sacred path we walk in life.
The spirals could have changed over the centuries, but the base meanings include:
- Three stages of life: life, death, and rebirth
- Three elements: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
- Three domains: earth, sea and sky; past, present and future.
When I first came to Old Stone from seminary in 1989 to be the Interim Associate Pastor, I didn’t realize that I was being set on a path that would weave in and out of this community’s life and they in mine. Even with serving other congregations, hospitals, and hospices over the past 33 years, I’ve ever been drawn back to Old Stone.
Many of the leaders of the church who served when I first came have gone before us.
Many of the youth in my youth group, now have children of their own and are serving as elders and deacons of the church. And there are those who are now in their elder years that are still active in the worship and the life of the church.
This time of reconnecting and serving now as settled pastor, fulfills a lifelong calling and desire. I’ve known since my youth that God was calling me to be a pastor of a church. Yet my being homosexual, precluded me from being able to serve the church openly and fully, or to serve in a settled position for most of my ordained life. So, I served God and the church faithfully within the bounds given. Even after the polity changed in the Presbyterian Church USA in May 2011 to ordain and call openly gay and lesbian clergy, it has taken till 2022 for me to be called as a settled pastor.
This journey has had many twists and turns, joys and sorrows, blessings and curses, yet I am grateful for every step of this journey and person with whom I’ve journeyed. For by the grace, love and mercy of God I am here.
I encourage you to stick to your path no matter how many twists and turns it may take. Trust God to lead you with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Develop your inner life, strengthen and develop your intuition, that you may sense God’s presence and leading. Unlike a maze that has trick passages with dead ends, the path upon which God calls us, though it may have many circuits, is continuous and will ever lead us home.