I’m not making this up. The seminary that I work at and the seminary that I graduated from are about three miles apart straight up Brook Road. And about halfway there is one of those fancy chain gas stations that serves all kinds of food and beverages to go. While I was hurrying from Union Presbyterian Seminary to the Baptist Theological Seminary I rushed in and treated myself to one of their fancier coffee drinks. And right there in the checkout line is where I met Mother Phoebe Roaf.
This is one of the distinct advantages to clergy wearing their clergy attire, they can actually be spotted in society! As kindly as one can be simultaneously sexist and racist I introduced myself to Mother Phoebe and asked about her ministry. My point is that I love to celebrate women and minorities. So when I see an African American woman wearing a clerical collar, whether I get to talk with her or not, I feel better about the world.
Now all of that was more about me than about her. It was all about what’s on the surface. So I can barely begin to tell you how much I enjoyed getting to know the person “behind” the name. There is a kindness and a comfort in everything about Mother Phoebe’s way. I felt as though I’d like to sit down for an hour each day and talk over a hot tea.
Please enjoy this episode of The Coffeepot Fellowship Daily Podcast with the Very Reverend Phoebe Roaf. She is the Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA. She extended a special invitation to anyone who is able to visit St. Philip’s Church, especially for Christmas Eve. And if you are beyond Richmond or even Christmas you are still invited to that church or to God’s church wherever you are. There is always a seat on God’s lap.
The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas W. Liqueur