When we were first married, 41 years ago, we decided on our first Sunday morning as Mr and Mrs that we’d go to the local churches. We’d go to the Baptist one in the morning, and the Anglicans in the evening.
When we got to the Baptist church, we were amazed to find the pastor was a woman – this was in 1971, don’t forget. She had been the first woman at Spurgeon’s College (training for Baptist pastors).
As we left the church, somebody asked Hub if he played the organ. Dunno why he asked. Hub said yes … needless to say, we never made it to the Anglicans.
We discovered our pastor had originally been a cowherd. She’d then headed up the Baptist deaconesses, before ending up as a pastor.
Our paths diverged: we went to Nigeria, she became President of the Baptist Union. When our paths crossed again, she had introduced the idea of spiritual retreats to the Baptists, become a nun (Baptists didn’t have them before her!) and finally felt God calling her to be a hermit.
A trailblazer! We’ve just got back from spending some time with her, laughing over shared history, filling in the gaps of each other’s experiences. appreciating God together.
Sadly for us, she’s about to move – she’s had M.E. very badly for more than 30 years, and needs to go into sheltered housing. But she’ll still be able to practise being a hermit … once word has got around!
There are some people who, when you come away from seeing them, leave you feeling that you’ve had a treat, a feast. Sister Margaret, erstwhile cowherd, is one of those people.