I love to read and write and gather up the words of others in written form so that people can read them. This begins the ninth year of “Gifts in Open Hands – A Blog for a Pentecost Year” I am grateful that this electronic format allows me to continue this precious sharing.
I’ve been a local church pastor in the United Church of Christ since 1980 in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I’m the author or editor of twenty-one books. My newest book is Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems, a seasonal opportunity to celebrate the ways the holy arrives in the midst of the ordinary.
Recent Pilgrim Press titles are A Child Laughs – Prayers of Justice and Hope, co-written with Maria Mankin, an anthology including the work of more than seventy-seven contributors from around the world, From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting with the Digital Age with Maria Mankin, Gifts in Open Hands — Resources for the Global Community with Kathy Wonson Eddy, All Whom God Has Joined, (resources for same-gender loving marriage) with Leanne McCall Tigert, Caring for Ourselves while Caring for our Elders, with Maria and Leanne, Transgendering Faith, a LAMBDA nominee, with Leanne. The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales is fun and fiction. I write poetry and flash fiction, and join NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month each November
Retired from parish ministry, I now focus on encouraging other writers, and use writing to support justice action. I serve as a guest preacher most Sundays and enjoy visiting different churches (now virtually).
I’ve expanding my workshops on writing poetry, liturgy, memoir or fiction. I have experience with schools, senior settings, faith communities, correctional facilities, recovery and survivor groups, and English Language Learners. I offer both spiritual and secular single workshops, a series of events, or retreats. I happy to be invited almost anywhere particularly in this time of virtual resourcing!
In also am a book mentor. I nudge, organize and edit books, short stories and poetry — from memoir to cozy mystery. Some new writers need a solid session of bouncing ideas or setting a personal schedule, while others need ongoing editing or publishing suggestions.
And for fun?? I love hiking, swimming, board games, dogs (especially beagles), and attending science fiction and fantasy conventions and mystery conventions. I am always deeply supported by my family, but, introverts every one, they prefer to be loved but unnamed.
Thank you for this wonderful resource! I direct a choir called Inshallah that sings songs of faith from around the world and at each rehearsal I read prayers or contextual information about the countries from which the songs originate. This will be a great resource for us. Thank you so much for your imagination and work!
blessings in your ministry,
debbie lou ludolph
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Thanks you, Debbie. Perhaps you would share a prayer that you or one of your choir members with me and I could put it on the blog!
Love your resource and artistry of images through words.
Richard C. Choe
Kingston Road United Church
Thank you so much. Next week I will have some specifically Canadian Thanksgiving liturgy. I am blogging from the United States and continue to be honored by the many wonderful things shared with me.
Great! Look forward to Canadian Thanksgiving liturgy. My daily blog contains photo images I have taken with a quote. If you are interested in any of the photos, please let me know. Part of what I do is teaching photography as spiritual practice. Blessings! Peace, R
I just went to see your blog. I was on the way out earlier. Your work is exquisite!
It was great to read your Still Speaking Devotional today. Your books are in contsant use in my ministry in Fairfield. With thanks for your ministry and with warm memories of your tender pastoral care in Melrose those many years ago. David Spollettnd
How lovely to hear from you and thanks for your kind words and, oh my, the memories!
Pingback: Thursday, December 6, 2012 | First Church Somerville Advent Blog
I was introduced to your blog by a mentor and am very grateful to have been brought here – what a wealth of beautifully written faith statements! (I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa too – it’s a small world.) I am currently involved with coursework that will qualify me to serve as a lay pastor within the Presbyterian Church (USA). I am open to God’s leading me to wherever it is I am supposed to be serving God by serving others, but am wondering if I am being pointed in the direction of writing. I have written some psalms based on contemporary situations as part of exploring possibilities. Would you be interested in reading some of what I’ve done or do you have any suggestions of other outlets I might explore? I’ve been encouraged to start my own blog but don’t feel I have enough of my own writing to support that type of commitment at this point. Thanks for any insights, and for sharing inspiration from yourself and others.
Linda, lovely to hear from you. I taught worship for thirteen years in the UCC but also joint CENTER LEARN program in Des Moines and have missed it the last two years. I would love to read some of your psalms.Please send some to firstname.lastname@example.org. I know that I won’t be able to read them with much presence of mind till Lent is started but I would look forward to seeing them then.
Thank you for sharing your inspirational thoughts and enabling others to do likewise. You are creating a thing of beauty that will be a continuing joy.
Thank you Rosalie and thank you for your incredible gifts.
Pingback: St. John’s United Methodist Church » Blog Archive » Sermon: “Facing Our Demons” by Mark Alley
Thank you on behalf of Daylight Tune Ministry to like our guest post. May our poetry bless your hearts and minds 🙂
I am very honored. Thank you.
Maren, What a joy that by a stoke of good fortune I found you and your website. al willams
Goodness, many years! Lovely to hear from you. Many Advent blessings.
Pingback: Revisioning the Bible - Gretta Vosper
I am so grateful to be included in these comments and applaud the work that you are doing.
I am searching for a resource of yours that I got from Imaging the Word curriculum years ago – “Let Me Tell You a Story.” I have the words – but I would love to get my hands on the music. I once had it on a cassette tape – but that has long since disappeared. I just love it so much.
Vicki, Thank you so much for the kind words. Wow — that’s been a long time ago. Robert Adams music was wonderful. Do you have a snail mail address you could send along. I think that I can find the sheet music and send you a copy. I am also in touch with him so, if I cannot put my hands on it I can have him send it to you.
Oh, yes!! Send it to: Faith Lutheran Church, attn. Vicki, 837 Chestnut Ave., Hastings, NE 68901
Thanks so much, Vicki. Sorry to be slow in responding to this. I was away and not attending to my blog. I will go hunting now for the music and hopefully can send you a copy or get Robert to send you one.
He has it — won’t be able to send until Monday. He could send to an email address.
If he prefers to send it e-mail: email@example.com
Thanks so much!
I’ll let him know if he has not sent it already.
Pingback: REVISIONING THE BIBLE BY GRETTA VOSPER | zingcreed
Thank you Maren for your writing that touches my heart and expands my mind. I look forward every morning to your writing…,
Goodness, thank you so very much for your kind words. It means a lot to me that the things I am forutnate enough to have the time and energy to write and to share of others’ writings speak to someone else!
I’ve been looking through your blog for your writings on the prodigal son. I found a chilling one about the elder child who leaves town. I found one about the parent sharing a cup for three. Someone told me that you had written more and assume you’ve got one from the perspective of the younger son.
I plan to use these readings for worship on Sunday, March 19 when the narrative lectionary focuses on this parable.
Hope that you are well. Your writing is so very powerful and a blessing to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
hi Beautiful I believe you bought my book and I just wanted to say thank you for your kind and thoughtful review, if tears were smiles geez, I must return the favor so I’ll be reading your book this weekend I can’t wait to receive it, truly are a blessing. I’ve taken a short break blogging but I’ll be back after my respite. Much love and light to you as you minister in the sanctuary and on the blog- your blogging friend Krissy
I loved your book. I took it to California where I helped with my daughter’s second child who was born two weeks ago and her 23 month old who needed some adjusting into a new family way of being. Of course, I really loved many of your poems with more religious titles” LGBT Jesus” “Mary Magdalene” “Bearing Fruit” but that is probably not good for Amazon general readers so I used others that I loved as well. Your writing is truly a blessing.
This is a vastly late and guilty greeting from a long ago friend. I have thought about you and your your parents so often. I meant to write so many times. Send me a note if you have the time or the inclination. I will always think of you and your parent’s kindness toward me with gratitude.
Bonnie Griffith Van Roekel
Goodness! I was just looking at your wedding picture. How strange is that? Is there an email address?
Yes. I thought that I had left it at the end of my blog, but I’m not seeing it there now.
Here it is: email@example.com
Marin I am trying to say hi to an old pal from Boston Conservatory. Don’t want to call out the introvert so tell him I said hi. “Sherman”
Elaine, Don would love to connect with you! His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Is thr a way he can get in touch with you?
Good morning Maren,
We were excited to learn that our new director has reached out to NH Humanities to have you return to our program again this year. You have been so successful in choosing just the right books for our students that we hoped you would do that for us again this year. The application form is quite different this year so we are in the process of filling it out for submission. Looking forward to seeing you again!
Salem High School
Rev. Tirabassi, I thank you for your wide-ranging prayers through Lent, on the theme of Covid19.
I own 3 of your books.
I have shared the first of your Lenten posts with my congregation, inviting them to look at the others. One of your posts prompted me to pray for all who are missing support of 12 step programs.
Shalom Mary Elford, Ontario, Canada
Mary, thank you so much for letting me know that you’ve been so engaged with my Lenten prayers, and goodness, inviting others to be involved with them moves me very much. I don’t know whether you like to write poetry or liturgy but I love to share the work of others and if you had any to share, please send it to the parallel email account email@example.com. I would love to read your work.
Pingback: Writing on the Heart in a Time of Coronavirus - First Church Berkeley UCC
Greetings from Kisumu Kenya. Im. Glad to invite u to Kisumu for church leadership conference.
Kindly visit our website.
Thanks alot brother John Atieno
Thank you so very much for the invitation. I am not able to come but I send my prayers.
You are a gift.
Thank you so very much.
I have a paper copy of Re-imagining Tenebrae. I don’t know where I got it. Was wondering if it is included in one of your books?
That is mine. Feel free to use it. It’s not in a book since characters have been changed year to year.