Look around. Perhaps you have seen that lady with the really adorable little girls who, this week in particular, has a really big smile?
It’s Rev. Bromleigh McCleneghan who has learned that the book on Christian parenting that she co-wrote with colleague Rev. Lee Hull Moses is nearing publication. Pastor Bromleigh, as she is affectionately known at Baker Memorial Methodist Church in St. Charles, has taken some precious time to talk to me in this, her final week before beginning a leave of absence. She has been wrapping up the complexities of Vacation Bible School (supported by many volunteers), preparing her final sermon, and all that goes into a major transition.
Pastor Bromleigh and her family live in Geneva. There’s her husband, Josh Hammond, a middle school math teacher in Park Ridge, and the aforementioned adorables: Fiona and Calliope.
The book is “a series of essays reflecting on theology and parenting our young children,” she said. She adds that there are chapters on discerning whether to become parents and how, on pregnancy, on having boys and girls, on post-partum changes to emotions and relationships, on love and faith and anxiety and justice and hope. She’s excited and proud.
The Patents of Faith group that meets at Baker Church (from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the second Friday of each month) read a number of chapter drafts are credited as being integral to the writing and reflection.
The publisher is the Alban Institute, a nonprofit ecumenical group which is invested in helping religious communities grow healthy and faithful. I plan to check with David Hunt at Town House Books to reserve a copy.
Looking ahead, Pastor Bromleigh will continue teaching in the ministry program at the University of Chicago, working on a professional development program for social workers on adolescent spirituality and lining up other teaching opportunities and book readings (Perhaps your group?)
In August she’ll be the assistant editor of Fidelia’s Sisters, an online publication of the Young Clergywomen Project. And yes, she’ll be pitching her next book.
In this the 175th year of Methodism in St. Charles, I needed to ask: What is a Methodist? This was her reply:
“A Methodist is a Christian with a particular commitment to wedding ‘personal and social holiness’ which is to say that we experience the grace and love of God as an assuring and empowering force that calls us to order our personal lives after the example of Christ, and to work for a more just world for all people.”
As the daughter of a Methodist minister, she adds this touch.
“It also means loving congregational singing!”
As customary, the people at Baker church have collected a “love gift.” While the face value of an issue of this newspaper is 50 cents, one hopes that the value of affirming her talents and the loving application of her faith, has greater worth for us all.
• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.