Greetings friends in Christ!
Easter is a time of renewal, hope and beginnings, and I am delighted to be starting this three month Interim Sabbatical coverage for Rev. Ginger. I know that I am stepping into, if even temporarily, some awesome footsteps. When she approached me over a year ago – pre pandemic - about this possibility I was thrilled, excited, and honored.
I am thrilled because I love adventure and a new ministry setting is always that. It’s an adventure into the unknown. You are plunked down into a story that has been ongoing for 378 years and are expected to figure it out. By the end of the three months I will have just begun. But I know that God has been present with you throughout these many years loving and nurturing you into who you are today. Vibrant ministry happens here and I am thrilled to be a part of it for this brief time.
I am excited because I love Guilford! My brother and his wife have lived here for 17 years, and a dear friend as well lives here, so I am familiar with the lay of the land. It’s a thriving community that I am glad to be a part of now. Plus, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump up from my home in Milford where I have lived for three years. I love the community’s sense of grounded history and yet offers so many upbeat and fun activities on the Green – pre pandemic, of course. Hopefully Guilford will return to that soon.
And, I am honored because pastors can be protective, and selective about who they choose to fill their pulpit while they are on Sabbatical. I am honored that Ginger has placed her trust and confidence in me. I will hold all that is dear to this Church and Ginger in my hands carefully and lovingly. As in the hymn, We are Pilgrims on a Journey, one of the most beautiful phrases is ‘I will hold the Christ light for you’. I will indeed hold the Christ light during this time for you, and for Ginger and Milton and their family.
As the Sabbatical Coverage pastor it is not my charge to start anything new, take on any initiatives, or uncover any proverbial skeletons in the steeple. That is when congregations begin to go amiss. But it is my charge to provide solid, non-anxious, compassionate leadership during this time to the ministry team, boards, committees and congregants.
It is also my charge to offer pastoral care by phone, or in person, outside-socially distanced, while maintaining safe Covid guidelines. The pandemic restrictions make it a bit more difficult, I realize that, but not impossible. The months that I will be with you will gradually get warmer so that will make it possible. My phone-in office hours will be Tuesdays 10-12 and Thursdays 10-12. I am also available for any pastoral emergencies that arise. Please contact the office to reach us.
So my goal is simply to walk with you for three months and care for you in the deepest pastoral way possible. I look forward to getting to know you.
The Rev. Suzanne Wagner
Here’s my official bio!
Reverend Suzanne E. Wagner was ordained into Christian Ministry in the United Church of Christ in 2002 after earning her Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Center, MA and earlier, her Bachelor of Fine Arts from William Woods University in Fulton, MO. Her major was in watercolor.
Rev. Wagner ended a six-year ministry at Orange Congregational Church in Orange, Connecticut as Senior Redevelopment Pastor after serving three other area UCC churches (Olivet Congregational Church, Wilton Congregational Church and First Church Congregational, Fairfield). She was a part time chaplain at Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in West Haven and earned her fourth unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Yale New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael’s campus in preparation for Board Certification. In addition, Rev. Wagner lived in Jerusalem for a year in 2007-2008. She currently is on the Conference Ministerial Aid Committee, the New Haven Association Committee on Ministry, and has become and Annuitant Visitor in the UCC Pension Board Annuitant Visitor Program.
Reverend Wagner resides in Milford and she has three children, John, Daniel and Christine, all married, one grandson, two granddaughters, and twins on the way in August! Also, there’s Chagall, the purebred Siamese cat who thinks he is in charge. In her free time she likes to watercolor natural science and botanical subjects, swim, walk and spend time with the grands!
Greetings friends in Christ!