Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Debi VanDenBoom

Hello, I am Debi VanDenBoom, Director of Parish Life at the Delavan United Church of Christ in Delavan, WI. I am a member of Bethel United Methodist Church in Elkhorn, WI where I am actively pursuing ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church.

I have been living my vocational call in ministry for the past 19 years as a paid staff member at four different congregations. My jobs have included duties related to Christian Education, Youth Ministry, and Church Communications.

Working to fine tune my social justice ministry I strive to educate everyone, especially women who have been in relationships effected by domestic violence like I have, that they are of great worth.

I am a warrior, teacher, preacher, prophet, and advocate who dabbles in writing poetry.

Sunday, May 24, 2015 I celebrated Pentecost, Aldersgate Day, and my Liberation Day. Each of these celebrations share the Holy Spirit's wonderful ways of opening and enlightening God's people to the mystery of God and teaching us to share God's message of love for one another.

Pentecost is the birthday of the church and in the Bible story found in Acts 2 we learn it is the day that the Holy Spirit was present in a multicultural crowd gathered for the festival of Shavuot. Those present not only heard the message of God's love for them, but did it in a way where together they were able to understand collectively even through each one's personal differences. It is a story where language barriers were overcome bestowing knowledge to all present in that place.

Aldersgate Day is important to United Methodists because it is the day that John Wesley was "strangely warmed" by the presence of the Holy Spirit calling him to his own personal ministry and to accept the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Three years ago on May 24 I was granted a divorce and allowed to reclaim my name, the name I identify with, Debi VanDenBoom. The Holy Spirit answered a prayer that I am able to spell my last name in a way that is now my own spelling and something I had desired earnestly when a high school student. Back then I chose to spell it wrong because it was the way I wanted to spell it. Thanks to the court it is now legally spelled the way I envisioned.

While there are many differences in each of these celebrations what is important is that the Holy Spirit unifies them. The Holy Spirit is actively at work in each of them. Each illustration imparts lessons of the Holy Spirit giving ordinary people tools to open them to the Loving God.

I do not know much about evaluativism but look forward to learning more about it. We live diverse lives that need to be interconnected to strengthen community and create the support network to help one another thrive. Differences are our greatest assets and it is the Holy Spirit which works in us and through us to unify us. The things we share in common with one another bring us together, but it is our differences which strengthen community.

May we each be open to the Holy Spirit not only to warm our hearts, but to give us the ability to see God in the ways which are not our ways and to make us aware of prayers which are answered even if it is many years after we have prayed them.

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