Center Rev. Ada Cooper, Hermitage Church of God, Hermitage, TN
In response to Patheos.com “Why I am a…” in 200 words or less:
I am Church of God, Anderson, IN because I was raised up in love. I have been reared in the tradition that also loved and fostered my parents and grandparents. I was born into a local church where a founding pastor of the 1930’s had been a woman, raised up under a sense of welcome and inclusion, taught the distinctions of our Wesleyan-Holiness heritage.
I was reared in a church where I was invited to sing a special at six years old, where I watched women kneel and wash the feet of other women, spread the feast for a pie social and gather for Tuesday morning prayer.
As an adult I pursued ordination in this tradition and have attained graduate degrees at our School of Theology where I now also teach and I am committed to the fierce, radical passion for justice and evangelism that animated the earliest days of our Movement. I am the Spirit daughter of Lena Schoffner, pioneer Church of God preacher who demanded the rope separating races be torn down, I am an heir to the Movement who would welcome Every One to the table of love.
This is a video recently prepared for Church of God Ministries and the 12-12-12 Ministry Tool Box initiative. To access other videos such as this visit http://www.chog.org/12-12-12
It is the season of last things. There are final papers, final presentations, final grades and gatherings; cake and cookies and the obligatory red punch of all ministry meaningful and otherwise, laughter and the blessed goodness of a long exhale.
I look across the chapel in the School of Theology, a holy place, an altar in my own pilgrimage, a place where I heard God and the place where I found my own voice, the place which is home now to our graduates stuffed into the hard wooden pews of the first four rows. Light pours in through the stain glassed windows and dances on the golden tassels and the deep scarlet, the bold, velvet fiber of theology.
I have been thinking about the state of the church lately, about my own relationship to the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic faith, and my relationship to the church tradition in which I have been raised and nurtured for the whole of my life. I have been thinking about all those Sunday mornings sleep still in our eyes, a Merle Haggard song playing on the 8 track, my dad driving my sister and me to the little Church of God in Hermitage, Tennessee where he himself had worshipped as a boy.