UPDATE 12.13.12 – Memorial Service for Cynthia J. Bolbach will be held Saturday, December 15th at 1:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, VA where she served so faithfuly as an elder and Clerk of Session. A reception will follow at the church.
UPDATE II – 12.12.12 – From friend Teri, “At 2:00 pm on 12-12-12 our favorite Moderator left this world and went to Moderate meetings with Martin Luther, John Calvin, Bonhoeffer and Jesus. She went peacefully in her sleep with friends and family surrounding her. Actually, I had just finished reading her all your postings on Facebook about her. As soon as we have funeral arrangements confirmed I will post them here. Thank you for all your love and prayers.”
UPDATE I – 12.12.12 – From some who are with Cindy, “I am posting this on behalf of Cindy. She is resting comfortably but has been noncommunicative since about noon Tuesday. One of her last conversations was expressing her gratitude for all the prayers and support she has received through her illness. She asked me to convey her deep appreciation. She said- No maudlin or mushy posts will be tolerated. So the moderator has spoken. We give thanks for her life, her ministry and her friendship.”
One of the things that you learn early on when serving as the Moderator of the Generally Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is that, in most part of the world and in many parts of the church, no one cares and most folks probably don’t even know who you are.
It is difficult to take oneself too seriously.
The other thing that one quickly learns is that in many parts of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and around the world, there is a deep affection for the office of Moderator. In a tradition that does not have Bishops or Presidents, it is a position that, for a brief moment in time, is tasked with holding the story of our church family: listening to our diverse voices, holding with care our struggles and the hopes and serving in a way that helps the church grow into who God intends us to become.
It is also important to take the office seriously.
It is in this tension between authority and insignificance where I believe most of us former moderators have been transformed by the experience and, hopefully, have held the office in a way that is pleasing to God and good for the church.
No one revelled and thrived in that tension better than the Moderator of the 219th General Assembly, Ruling Elder Cynthia Bolbach. Her sharp, dry humor, fused with a keen and caring mind held the office in a way that was unique and powerful for our church at all levels.
As she served her term, she discovered that cancer would be part of her story and today, after a long journey, her church family has learned that she has entered hospice care. Knowing Cindy, she is entering these final days with the same humor, class, passion and faithfulness with which she has always served her God . . . and for this her church and her God give thanks.
Feel free to leave comments on this post or on Facebook [my page and/or my profile] as there are folks surrounding her who know that many of us are holding Cindy in prayer and may peek in and share with Cindy.
Me first . . .
Dear, Madame Moderator. Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), you served like none before and none will ever do again. The world, the church and this guy have been transformed for the better because of you. We smile with you now and always.
God in your mercy, grace and peace . . . hear our prayer.
*Please let me know if there are other reflections to add and I will.