Honestly, I really wanted to title this post “I’m Just Sad” or “This is Really Hard”. And that would be true. Because Monday, October 28, Noell Rathbun-Cook, our Lectionary Links writer for the past three years. will connect Biblical texts and children’s books for the last time on this site. Noell’s insightful writing and creative connections are so important to Storypath that it is hard to imagine this corner of cyberspace without her. (The Links will continue – just without Noell!)
I’ve spoken elsewhere on this site about how the Lectionary Links posts got started. But having a good idea and turning that idea into something engaging and useful depends in large measure on God’s Spirit. Noell was a seminary student at Union Presbyterian Seminary when I met her five or six years ago. But I really got to know her when she began worshipping at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church. As we lived in community together in that place, I got to know an extremely creative, good humored, thoughtful and intelligent human being. I also saw one of the most naturally gifted people with children and young people that I’ve ever known. (The number of children that consider her a part of their families is simply amazing.)
Noell was honored with an award for outstanding preaching the year that she graduated from seminary. (She’s a gifted preacher in addition to all those other things she’s good at!) So I knew something about her ability to speak and write. I also knew her children’s librarian mother had instilled in her a tremendous love of books. And I knew she was going to spend some time considering what her ministry would look like after seminary. I’m so grateful that in God’s timing, Noell’s needs and gifts and the Library’s needs and dreams meshed perfectly and that her enthusiasm for and commitment to this work never waned in more than three years of weekly writing.
As the site manager of Storypath,I have had the privilege of hearing from so many about how this site is serving God’s people. Whether you interact with children and young people in your homes, in classrooms or in worship spaces , you are creating your own links with these stories and God’s story. All of us who work on this site at Union are grateful for Noell’s contributions to these efforts. But I know Noell has also been a gift to you readers, and I am posting this a few weeks before she writes her last Links because I hope you’ll express your own thanks to her here in this public space. I’ve heard your gratitude for the Links. I’d like her to hear it as well. (Just write something in the “Leave a Reply” section and hit Post Comment. )
There’s going to be a new baby in Noell’s family in about five weeks. Stepping away from writing Links gives her the ability to ignore those nagging writing deadlines and more time to love and nurture yet another child. A child who, I am certain, will hear the most wonderful stories.
Yes, I’m sad. But I’m also very grateful for all that Noell has done here. So, while I’m praying about where God will be leading us next, I’m offering many prayers of thanksgiving for having had the opportunity to share Noell’s love of books and her love for all of God’s children – big and small.
William Smith Morton Library, Union Presbyterian Seminary