People I know: John G

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A couple of weeks ago, a postcard came through our mail slot.  And it was totally the perfect postcard. It make me laugh to the point that I re read this card four times in a row and when I saw who it was from it made me laugh even harder. The author of the card said that during this time of pandemic, he was thinking about people that he loved in his life and needed to let them know and I was one of them.

John Girard is one of the dearest people in my life and has been since my seminary days.  We didn’t really get to know each other until my second year at Garrett and he was even a year ahead of me in seminary.  We had met but we really got to know one another when we lived in the same building, he lived just a floor above me.  We had known that we would be good friends but during that year we just hung out….eating soup, telling stories, talking about theology and life and love and and and.  John, April and I coined our burrito theology over our mutual love of burritos and over Chipotle long lunches as we talked about layers and combinations and love of all things good.

We made lists of what we loved about each other and every time we have come back together even though we live far apart it is as if we never lost our closeness.

When John was appointed to his first church, I went to visit and stayed in the parsonage in that little Ohio church. What I remember about that visit was how incredible of a pastor I saw my friend to be, how much I loved being around him and how easily we moved together in the world.  He came to visit me in Corvallis in my first appointment and we quickly established that our hair was always fabulous, he was told many times it rained at the coast by almost everyone in Oregon, and we vowed to try new things because…when in Rome!  Right?  These are the mantras that have stuck in our friendship.  When we both went to General Conference in Tampa, we were top priority to catch up and when we have mutual friends, we know that they are good people too.  When we call each other it is as if it is the best thing ever because it is and when we are low we share with one another and hold each other tightly.

John was a funeral director before being called to the pastoral life. He always said it was the right body of water, just the wrong boat and because of John I know how to navigate the waters of funerals and death so much better than I even would have known.  John taught me about those holy moments.  John has been appointed to a variety of ministry settings and continuously teaches me how to approach each person with kindness and grace and the appropriate amount of snark.  John and I were both one of the original called out clergy, coming out on a world wide stage to the whole UMC and I am proud to stand next to him in our courageous moments.

He is truly someone called by God to do God’s work.  I am so grateful to serve alongside him and call him one of my chosen family.

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