Connie Tuttle
When I asked my Mom and Dad to come to Atlanta because I had something important I wanted to share, I am sure they made a journey of trepidation. After all, wasn’t I the child arrested for possession of pot in 1968? And didn’t I get pregnant at 17, become a mother at 18 and divorced at 21? And hadn’t I lived off the land in rural Georgia, come out to them as a lesbian, bicycled through New England for a summer, worked on a dude ranch and logging camp in the mountains of Oregon? What could I possibly have to tell them now that required them driving a hundred miles to hear the news?
I didn’t consider that they might be anxious. I was anxious. I took them and my daughter to a neighborhood pub for lunch and after some small talk said, “Mom, Dad, I feel called to the ministry.”
My mom, a regularly attending church member and deeply practicing Christian, laughed. Looking back, I see the humor. I am reminded of Sarah laughing when Abraham told her she would get pregnant at the age of 90. I am sure it felt just as absurd to my mom that I was called to ministry. I was too intense, too fervent, to think anything was funny at the time.
My Dad, who humored my mother by going with her to Christmas and Easter services, said, “I support you in whatever you do.”
From that time to this day I wrestle with that call. As a divorced, single, lesbian, mystic, feminist mom with a passion for justice I stumbled along trying to make sense of this call for years. First I had to go to church, then college, then seminary- all the while fighting battle after battle just to be allowed in any of those places.
As founding pastor of Circle of Grace I have had the privilege of ministering to a nomadic band of Christians who are ecumenical, progressive, radically inclusive, and feminist since 1993.
An army brat, I worshipped on base, ministered to by chaplains of many different denominations. As a teenager I attended the United Methodist Church with my mom. I left the church for nine years before joining the Presbyterian Church (USA), earning my B.A. in Religious Studies from Agnes Scott College and an M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
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