Answers At Last
Well, I think waiting on these has made me even more verbose. Thanks Jane, for the questions! Da' Rules follow below as well. Heres my attempt at answers:
1. Being a newlywed (15 months and counting!), what's the biggest adjustment been for you?
Two things come to mind here. First of all, and I know this seems obvious and superficial, but the name change thing was really big. I’m still not quite used to it – I rented a car to go home a couple weeks ago, and accidentally initialed the rental papers “SH”. Oops. Seriously though, its weird to just have a different name all of a sudden. My maiden name – Hernandez, for those who don’t’ know – was also one of my only ties to my Hispanic background. I’ve said this in class before, that I’m not used to having to explain to people that I’m half & half, because the name did that for me. I definitely took that for granted. The other big adjustment has been simply figuring out how Luke and I are different as a married couple than as a dating couple. We’ve been together since we were 17, and we’ve worked through a lot of the stuff about always having to check in with someone before making plans, those sorts of couple-ness issues. But we agree that there is something very different about being married – when we figure out what that actually is, I’ll let you know!
2. You're the elected chair of the Worship Committee at Seabury. Why did you run, and what are your goals for your term?
As I’m stressing about the Committee retreat, I’ve been asking myself the same question! Just kidding. I came to Seabury because, to me, this place valued community life more than any other seminary I looked at. This is not saying we have community life mastered by any means, but I think we try hard. Christian community is about worship, for worship, and fed by worship. We come to Christ through worship, and by coming “with joy to meet out Lord” we meet one another in new ways, with new eyes, hearts and minds. Worship is the source and the end of our lives in, with and for Jesus. Simply put, this is where my passion lies. My skills – organizing, planning and preparing, listening (I hope – passion can easily get in the way on that one…) –meet the task, I believe. After much prayer and deliberation, it simply seemed to be the best place for me to serve. My goals? For now, to re-gather the committee, and hear why each one of them has agreed to serve. My dream? That worship at Seabury remains/becomes/is central to our community life. For everyone to attend, participate, and find God is the familiar and the new, and in that, to recognize the Spirit that is at work in each person and this place. Yup, that was all really cheesy – but like I said, I’m stressing over this retreat. Prayers welcome!
3. Music--- especially liturgical music-- is a big part of your faith. What is your favorite hymn, and why?
Sigh. Really, just one? Argh. I was raised in the choir at my church, and I used to be known for being able to name hymns with two notes, match hymn numbers to the hymn, all that jazz. Music is absolutely a big part of my faith – singing taught me what it means to pray. So, ask me this question another day, and you may get a completely different answer! This summer, Be Thou My Vision has run through my head quite a bit. I love the tune, I love the words, I love the way the song sort of lilts along in its simple way. I also love the descant I know from a choral arrangement, but that’s another story.
4. Who are your heroes? What do you look for in the people you look up to?
When I was a kid, I was really into Amelia Earhart and Betsy Ross. I don’t really even remember why. These days, my heroes are more personal. Julia, my choir director back home. She taught me to sing and to pray, that children matter in the church, and that serving God is a gift that deserves all our efforts and talents. I used to want her job, until I realized it meant learning to play piano, and I hated practicing! In general, I look up to people who change the lives of the people around them simply by being themselves. People like that tend to be secure in their identity, gifts and talents, but are humble at the same time. They give out of a desire to serve, rather than a sense of superiority. I also appreciate people who can – and have- weathered storms with grace.
5. Your home parish shares worship space with a Jewish congregation. How does that work? Where are the joys and struggles in that arrangement?
The church (St. Clare of Assisi) and the temple created a joint organization in 1974 called Genesis. Genesis owns the building, and basically administrates the building and such. The architecture is very cool – we built a new building about ten years ago. Our sanctuary is semi-circle… the altar is still in front, but the people on the sides pretty much face each other. The altar is granite, and is up on a bimah (circular, raised platform.) Behind it are big wooden panels – when the fold all the way closed, there is a cross, and side places that serve as credence tables. Folded all the way the other way is the Torah. Its beautiful. The joys are many – living in this relationship is, we hope, a real testament to what interfaith peace can look like. We have a Thanksgiving service together, we used to do a pulpit switch, and we have a Genesis seder meal, did a Habitat House a couple years ago, staff a homeless shelter together. We are not there to convert each other, or try and blend our faith traditions. In fact, I think that is part of why it works so well. The struggles tend to be day-to-day things… building the new building was a big strain on the relationship. For the 25th anniversary, a rabbinical student who grew up at TBE (the Jewish congregation) preached. She was born in 1974, same as Genesis, and this was right after the shootings at the LA daycare. She talked about “tolerance”, and said that “tolerance” isn’t good enough. What she learned growing up with Genesis was respect, and that was what she intended to work for. I can’t say much more than that.
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