The Rev. Judith A. Dwyer
Just a dozen years ago, I sat with my husband John in the study of the pastor who served as my Head of Staff and mentor unmatched. We worked together for several years, he in a position of ordained leadership and I as a lay person. After trying my best to evade the still,
small voice I’d heard calling most of my life, I had a decision to make. Would I give up the comfort of everything I knew – the church, the people, even my own family’s comfort—for the life of a seminary student? What if I gave it all up and failed? Changed my mind? Wanted out?
With fear and trembling my constant companions, I signed on the dotted line and took myself off to seminary. There I discovered 40 or so other “non-traditional” students, those seasoned by a career or two in the secular world who were also committing their lives to the service of the church. We supported each other through Greek and Hebrew, through separation from our families and ordination exams. By the mysterious grace of God, we made it through every challenge. And then we found ourselves called to as many different kinds of ministry as you can imagine!
Try as we might, we cannot predict where and how God is going to call and use us. We can only give ourselves over to God’s grace and trust that there is a plan we cannot see and a purpose to which we are being led. From my days as in the hospital as a trauma chaplain to
serving as a transitional associate and then solo pastor, I have felt led by God’s mysterious presence. And I trust God is now calling me to Northampton, to this beautiful and welcoming congregation.
By Zoom and face-to-face, your PNC and I have gathered and discussed, questioned and answered. Together with Dana, Corinne, Helen, Kathy, Jane, Joe and Steve, I have listened and laughed, challenged and been challenged. I even took a little drive over Buck Road and
sat in the parking lot one sunny afternoon, to orient myself to your surroundings and to see where God might be directing me. To discern whether this might be a good fit. When I arrived home that evening, I told John I thought this might be the place. That, if I was lucky enough to receive this call, I would surely accept it.
I wonder and marvel at God’s sense of call. At what God sees in all of us that we cannot. It is with a sense of awe and awareness of the mystery about to unfold that I happily find myself in your midst. Where, together, we can begin to build a relationship rooted in the love of God, made real to us in the person of God’s son, Jesus. The same Jesus whose story unfolds in the stained- glass window that arrests our attention in the sanctuary. That bids us stop and consider the mystery of his life among human beings and where following him takes us.
Through marriage and parenting, chaplaincy and the church, I have followed this Jesus. It is his example I seek to live into in seasons of joy and sorrow, abundance and want, health and pandemic. And I am confident that, with him, we can begin a new chapter in the life of
this congregation. One that brings all of our resources to this family’s table, where, fed and nourished, we can touch the lives of those in the community that surrounds us.
I can’t wait to see where God is leading us! We have only to “…be still, and know.” (Ps 46:10) And then get busy doing! May God bless our journey together!
- Pastor Judy
Princeton Theological Seminary
Masters of Divinity
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling
Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education
Reach Pastor Judy at:
215-357-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org