|Alexis Brent appeared one day at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and St. Mark’s Community Church in New Orleans. The Social Gospel was appealing to her, so she stayed.
Her life to that point had already been rich. She did theater, running a playhouse; she did public relations, where she assisted people in telling stories. She was an expert in precious metals and a columnist about that topic. Reared in New York, she followed trails that led to the French Quarter of New Orleans and into St. Mark’s. It was there she answered the call to ministry and dove in head first, working at St. Mark’s in her beloved justice ministry, studying theology, finding a love in discipline that ordered her life.
She graduated from seminary and was duly commissioned as a minister in the United Methodist Church and appointed as pastor of the Carrollton UMC and to be campus minister at UNO. How thrilled she was to perform a service of hold matrimony, a baptism, a funeral and to serve the Eucharist. Then she died, barely two months after her pastorate began. She died fulfilled; she died happy. The rest of us have her joy to celebrate, her love to emulate, her memory to sustain us, and her love of justice to challenge us. How rich life became, as the shadow of Alexis Brent fell on each of us.
A friend died, suddenly, tragically, decisively, (as death is wont to be).
Young and beautiful, bright and caring, she died, she died.
Her life was a promise, justice her forte, compassion her mind plan,
Commissioned a minister delighted in the nuance of prophet and priest,
Only to die before her style could be established.
Mercy rushed from her soul, judgment totally foreign, her arms embraced
The down and out, black and white, and hues between, and me,
Consoling and lifting or just saying love that floated all about.
She walked with God, in the Quarter, in the slums, culling no opportunity
To grasp that hand, knowing the touch to be redemptive, healing, strengthening;
Giving that cup of water with no return sought, she indeed walked with God.
A woman of grace and charm, a woman of strength and love,
A woman of books and letters, a woman of commiseration and action.
A woman of God. A woman of God.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 2002, Memoirs By Jim Wilson|