One of the aspects of Life Together that excites me the most is the focus on stories and a belief in their power. As the daughter of a storyteller I think my love of stories is only natural. My mother's favorite quotation comes from the storyteller Barry Lopez who says "Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion." I grew up hearing stories and wanting to write my own. Yet somehow in the midst of a busy college schedule I lost the narrative whilst caught up in facts, statistics, and analysis. But from the moment this program began, I was reminded of the preciousness of stories. Learning about public narrative during orientation was an eye opening experience for me. I love that stories are recognized as a way to engage others in a call to action. Now as I focus on charting my spiritual biography, I am learning new things about the way God’s call is at work in my life. Most of all, I cherish hearing other peoples stories. Listening to the other fellows’ public narratives empowered the whole group. Yet I also love hearing stories in the in-between conversations, the moments we spend talking about our hopes for the future and how we came to Life Together more informally. I can already tell that my path of discernment this year will be aided by all of these times together as we tell our own stories and work on telling the Christian story. At Life Together, I witness the web of stories and love supporting us all.
One of the greatest joys of work placement so far at St. Chrysostom’s Church in Quincy has been spending time with some of the older parishioners. St. C’s has a long history in the community and some of the parishioners have been members for over 60 years. Spending time with some of the older women in particular and hearing their history with the church awakened in me a desire to document their stories. In a happy coincidence, it now looks like I might have the opportunity to help with an oral history project at the church. I look forward to seeing the wisdom that may be gathered from this project. I hope that in telling and listening to stories we may begin to understand even more as young people in the church how to bring together all generations to learn from each other. I’m excited for my own story to continue to be shaped by this program and this church in the coming year.
By Hannah Pommersheim, Micah Fellow at St. Chrysostom's Episcopal Church, Quincy