Our friend Robina Winbush died suddenly yesterday and it feels like a kick in the gut. Robina was our denomination’s global connector, knowing the world’s ecumenical leaders, keeping the PCUSA engaged with the World Council of Churches, and having the cultural expertise of a diplomat. Because of Robina, I was our denomination’s representative at the World Council of Churches Consultation on the Ordination of Women Deacons in the Roman Catholic Church in 2017 in Italy. She was a treasure. She left this earth the day before my 63rd birthday.
Every birthday is strange for me because 1) it’s a reminder that I’ve outlived both of my parents by several years, 2) I miss my parents more on my birthday than on either of their birthdays or death days, and 3) I always assumed I would die before now. And yet it was beautiful Robina who is now gone.
In life and in death we belong to God. This truth gives me great hope.
My family has a twisted sense of humor, especially about death. We play a game called Dead. Not Dead. The rules are simple: Someone calls out the name of a famous person and then we each guess if that person is dead or not dead. Sometimes celebrities pass away and I could have sworn they were already dead. Olivia de Havilland, Mel Brooks, and Herman Wouk are all still alive.
I am still alive. You are still alive. Each day is an enormous blessing and yet we grieve in hope. I have hope for the global Church because of Robina Winbush.
Image of me with Robina at General Assembly in June 2018.