Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Jackie Logue made me slow down and listen to her perspective of the city, faith and life

I just returned from the funeral of a gracious woman who lived her entire earthly life in the heart of West Indianapolis. Jacqueline Logue was a cancer survivor of over 25 years and seemed to me to have 9 lives.  The strong chemotherapy she underwent a quarter-century ago took care of post-surgical cancer, but also affected many other organs.  As I was her pastor for six years, Jackie was in and out of the hospital more than anyone I've served over the years.  Finally, at age 81, her pain and extended suffering ended and she is at rest.

Pastoral visits to Jackie were an ordeal.  Typically, I prefer brief visits with parishioners.  But Jackie seemed to require, if not demand, long visits.  I am fast-paced; Jackie was slow-paced and deliberate.  When I visited Jackie, I deferred to her pace.  She would ask every possible question in a labored manner.  She wanted to know details about what was going on with the church.  She rehearsed stories from the congregation's past.  Her questions and comments reflected perspective from a life of loving service in a congregation she no longer was able to be present to weekly.  She inquired about my family.  She told me all about her family. She wanted to talk a little theology. She shared her opinions with me.  And always, waiting at the end of every visit would be the ritual writing of the tithe check, which I would bear to the church treasurer.

One of the things Jackie always talked about how the neighborhood she'd grown up in and still lived in had changed.  She lived just a few blocks from the church.  When she was a girl,  West Indianapolis was the edge of the city.  Now, 70-some years later, it's urban core--with all the changes and challenges that go with it.  While many of the neighbors she grew up with and attended church with had moved to the suburbs 30 years ago, she and her family had stayed put.  It helped me to gain perspective from one who lived in and loved and stuck with an urban neighborhood and church--for good or for ill--over a lifetime.

When I began serving as pastor of the church in 2003, the first funeral I conducted was for her husband, Chuck.  After she sold winter property they shared in Florida, she wanted part of the proceeds of the sale to be used to restore the carillon bells that once rang across the West Indianapolis neighborhood from the church's bell tower.  Today, the bells peal Christian songs for ten minutes every hour on the hour for many in the community to hear.

I'm glad I got to know Jackie and have had a bit part in her life, even if in the last earthly chapter of it.  I am blessed to share the role of a pastor in the lives of numerous saints.  It is one of the highest privileges in an ordained clergy's life.

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