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Now and Not Yet | Patricia Locke

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Now and Not Yet | Patricia Locke

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I have known Patricia Locke as a writer far longer than I have known her as a pastor, but happily I was also there when God spoke into her life and called her to the life of a pastor.

For as long as I have known Pat, going back 25 years, maybe longer, she has been a person who expressed herself beautifully, with clarity and precision. She knew what she  wanted to say, and she said it. She usually said it as well as it could have been said.

We were in a writers’ group together, all those years ago, and when the group met we would read each other’s work and offer comments about it, an important but difficult process for someone trying to make it as a writer. Commenting on what other people write, what other people sometimes love as much as their own children, is just about guaranteed to irritate and anger those other people.

But Pat never did that. As I recall, Pat’s comments on what I wrote were always memorable and on target. I knew I should pay attention. So, it was in that writers’ group that I learned Pat could be wise and direct and caring, traits that would serve her well later when she became a pastor.

The sermon in this collection titled “Open Hearts, Willing Spirits” describes a time in Pat’s life when she experienced God making a “way open” in her life, when God called her out of her previous life and into this thing she and I call “ministry.” I happened to be present when she received this call, as she notes, and I happened to walk alongside her as she responded to it, but the journey is all hers – all her courage, all her openness, all her vulnerability.

And now, it seems clear to me from reading the sermons in this collection, she has brought all of those experiences of her life, and all of her gifts as a writer, into her new life as a preacher. I think it was because she was a writer before she became a pastor that she knew how to tell a story, that she could take people with her words from point A to point B, that she was able to communicate important truths.

Not all preachers can do this, of course, as you may have noticed from listening to a few of them, but Pat can. And I have come to believe that it is a gift that cannot be taught. Pat has this gift. She still says what needs to be said, and she still says it with gentle wisdom, a disarming directness, and a writer’s precision. The sermons in this collection are in many ways a distillation of her life, which means what she says is real and genuine and honest. But they’re more than that. What she says is true, and because it’s true, it’s what you and I need to hear. It’s the gospel.

-Douglas J. Brouwer,

Pastor, International Protestant Church

Zürich, Switzerland

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Patricia Healy Locke is a native Chicagoan, and was a professional writer for most of her career. In 2007, she graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago with a Masters of Divinity. Pat served for five years as Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care and Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. In 2015, she accepted the call as Pastor for Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee.

 

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