Dear Redeemer,

Hello! My name is Rebecca Ogus and I’m the new Associate for Youth and Young Adults. I am so glad to be joining your community and so grateful for the opportunity to serve, worship, and learn alongside you. Thank you for all the ways you’ve welcomed me, and my husband, Zach, so far.

As I begin to learn about all of you and about Redeemer as a parish, here’s a bit about me:

I grew up in Beaufort, a little town in coastal North Carolina, just south of the Outer Banks. When I was eight my family moved to New York City so my mother could attend seminary (she’s an Episcopal priest). When she graduated, we moved back to rural Eastern North Carolina; I left in 10th grade to attend high school at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware. These communities were all full of their own, very distinct, cultures, and I can’t imagine life without each of them.

After high school I went to Kenyon College in Ohio, where I took as many classes as I could about women, gender, and Christianity. Ohio winters were a little too cold for me (and I missed my family), so after graduation I headed back to North Carolina for a year in the Episcopal Service Corps (ESC) in Chapel Hill. One of the hallmarks of ESC programs is living in intentional community (more on that another time). Sharing life so deeply with my seven housemates was one of the most formative – and challenging – experiences of my adult life. High school and college had shaped my intellect and moral conscience; in ESC I learned how to apply both and began to discover who and how I wanted to be in the world. A lot of that learning happened at our weekly house dinners.

These dinners were, on the surface, unremarkable: two people cooked, two people cleaned, we talked and laughed and grumped around the table. Except, the fact that they happened so unremarkably was kind of amazing. Three times a week we prioritized our community over everything else we had going on, no matter how much we wanted to be doing something (anything!) else. We showed up for each other, imperfectly: even when there was conflict, even when we were sad or tired, even when we didn’t want to, and that still fills me with wonder.

Deep commitment to a community beyond oneself is not new. Scripture is overflowing with stories about it! And there are plenty of examples in other faith traditions and in secular movements, too – think about the commitment of people who’ve been calling for racial justice and equity in the United States, this summer and for the last 401 years. Jesus is constantly inviting the disciples, and us, towards a life in committed relationship with one another and God, a life as members of the Body of Christ.

The work of life in intentional relationship with one another and with God is not easy.  It really does take work to keep showing up at the table, again and again, and I, at least, frequently get it wrong. But that work is part of our Christian vocation. And it’s how I strive to be in the world and how I will strive to be here, at Redeemer.

A few other things have happened since my year in ESC, but that can wait for another day. I look forward to meeting all of you – especially the youth and young adults of the parish! – and doing the good, hard work of life shared with one another and with God. I don’t know what the coming months and years hold, no one does. But I know the way we’ll get there is together.

With joy and thanksgiving,