Saturday, March 5, 2011

saree adventures and reasons to celebrate

Yesterday was an exciting day in the life of the Church of South India. And in my life, too!

With regard to the former, the consecration of the new bishop of the Madhya Kerala Diocese took place. This was a huge affair! One for which we (Maggie, Jim, and I) were told we should be well-dressed and presentable. For Maggie and I, this meant wearing sarees. Which presented a slight problem. Maggie would be spending the night with me at Mandiram as her site, Nicholson School, is too far away to have been able to travel to the consecration the same morning and arrive there in time. And since I am new to Mandiram, I didn't know who, if anyone, would be able to help dress us.

Being the confident young ladies that we are, we thought, 'heck, it can't be that hard. We'll just practice the night before and it will be a piece of cake the next morning.' didn't go so well. We were up until almost midnight trying to master the art of tying a saree, and we failed miserably. It was SO funny. And upon giving up we had to acknowledge that there was no way we could show up to the consecration looking like we had haphazardly rolled ourselves up in a sheet that we secured with a few strategic (or unstrategic, rather) safety pins.

Feeling helpless and out of options, we pretty much decided that we would have to resort to getting to the cathedral extremely early and begging the first females that arrived to take pity on us and help dress us. Part of me wishes that that scenario had actually occured, as I think any Malayalee woman would have been tickled to death by that and it would have made for a great story. But we were saved from being the laughing stock of the church when one of Mandiram's nursing students, Manju, was able to come to my room the following morning to help us dress.

We arrived to the cathedral church, where the consecration was taking place, an hour and a half before it started so we could get seats. And as Jim observed in a text that he sent me during the service (he was not sitting with Maggie and me as he was on the men's side, and we were on the women's): "this is like the who's who of Kottayam amongst Christians...actually probably not just Kottayam." And he was right. Five thousand people were expected to be in attendance, but I've been told that the actual number was almost twice that. The consecration and installation lasted about three and a half hours, and then lunch was provided for everyone, after which there was a public meeting.

Jim, Maggie, and I skipped out on lunch amongst the thousands and decided to go to a nearby restaurant, instead. On the way, Jim needed to swing by his room (he lives near the cathedral church) to get something. Feeling lazy and not wanting to walk all that way, I decided that I would check my email at a nearby internet cafe while waiting.

In my inbox, I found some amazing, life-changing news: Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which has been my first choice all along, was offering me a full scholarship to start my Master of Divinity there in the fall. (On a side note, for those of you who read about it in my facebook status, or are reading about it here, my intention is not AT ALL to brag--being in India, I just have no other way to share the news with friends/family, and don't have enough internet time to send personal emails.)

Far from wanting to boast, I am in fact very humbled and also petrified wondering whether or not I wil be able to live up to the expectations that the wonderful folks at LPTS have for me. My most sincere hope is that my theological education at LPTS will only be the beginning of a life of service to the church and that somehow, some way, through that life of service and my interactions with others, I can repay this huge gift with which I have been so undeservingly blessed. I am so thankful to all of those who have helped bring me to this place, and most of all, to God.

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

"Love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. Love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it." -Maya Angelou


  1. Madison....CONGRATSS ON LOUISVILLE!!!!!!!! I am so excited for you. What an awesome blessing to receive in the midst of this YAV year. This experience will continue to influence your seminary years, and you WILL be plenty prepared.

    Love from Va,
    Nicole C.

  2. Well this is wonderful news. Congrats on your acceptance and scholarship to Louisville! I think you will fall in love with "River City," and don't forget visit us in the YAV office often.