Walking slowly, intentionally. Mindful of each step, placing her feet carefully upon the path. Aware of her connection to the earth, her connection to all things. Aware of her breath, her connection to air and sky, her connection to everything unseen. Winding slowly around the spiral pathway, immersed in the moment, wholly open to the moment – the holy moment opening to awe. Thankful for each step – beholden. Winding, winding ever inward, to the center, listening to the voices at her innermost core. “Do you trust us,” they say. “Yes,” she answers, “yes I trust you.”
Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual practice of choice for Wendy Jones. Reverend Wendy Jones. Our Rev. Wendy.
Wendy’s labyrinthine journey to the UUCGV began at the Iliff School of Theology. Or rather, it began when she chose to study theology instead of pursuing a doctorate in psychology or a Masters in social work.
While working as a social worker in an assisted living facility, Wendy observed her patients with Alzheimer’s Disease having conversations with people that she could not see. Over time Wendy began to see these conversations more as “mystical experiences” rather than merely as problems that required defining and fixing. “What if” Grace really is talking to her deceased brothers? Wendy concluded that someone willing to ask these questions might find a better fit in theology than in psychology or social work. She decided to enter seminary.
During her first year at Iliff, in a role-playing exercise for her pastoral care class, Wendy was randomly paired with a fellow named Cameron Jones. What roles were they playing in this role-playing exercise, you ask? Well, husband and wife of course. And they didn’t talk again for 2 ½ years. Can you believe it?
Granted, Cameron was studying Hebrew and Greek and Wendy was working toward a Masters of Divinity with an emphasis in pastoral care, so their paths didn’t often cross. Well, when they finally reestablished conversation they soon discovered a deep connection. A couple years later they were living in Rhode Island as husband and wife – Cameron pursuing a law degree and Wendy working as the Director of Spiritual Services for the John Clark Retirement Center.
Wendy was to be the first woman ordained at the historic Channing Memorial Church. A van carried some of the retirement center residents to her ordination. Wendy treasured her work at the retirement center. She loved the residents. Rhode Island was wonderful. Yet… Colorado was calling.
Wendy and Cameron wanted to have kids and they knew they wanted to raise them in Colorado; so, Cameron took the bar exam in Colorado and began looking for employment opportunities. He was offered a job as a research attorney assisting the judges in Mesa County. They thought it over and liked the possibilities offered by the Hub of the Western Slope. Nathaniel was soon born, and not long after Danielle was born. The family began to settle into Grand Junction.
Wendy applied for the ministerial position at the UUCGV. She was not chosen as minister; yet was later asked to fill the vacant director of religious education position. Wendy was our DRE for several years.
Meanwhile, Wendy and Dee Jaquet co-founded the Rocky Mountain Center for Spiritual caregivers – an accredited interfaith chaplaincy training program – providing the Western Slope with quality chaplains. Cameron introduced Dee to Wendy. He ran into Dee at his place of worship, the Greek Orthodox Church. (Dee is a rarefied feminist Greek Orthodox.) Wendy was slowly and quietly becoming known within the spiritual community of the Grand Valley. She considers this time in her life a true blessing. It allowed her to balance her work with raising two small children, while keeping her toes in the ministry world.
While walking the labyrinth at the First Congregational Church, on her 40th birthday, Wendy had a life altering experience. She was overcome, feeling the presence of her beloved former Alzheimer’s residents walking with her. She felt a profound sense of love and safety surrounding her. When she centered, the voices at her innermost core spoke of a challenging year ahead, a transformative year. “Do you trust us?” they asked. “Yes I trust you,” she said, standing in the heart of the labyrinth.
Three months later Wendy was sitting in the waiting room at St. Mary’s Pavilion waiting for the biopsy procedure that would confirm what she already knew in her heart was true. She was about to be diagnosed with cancer. And yet, she knew that everything was going to be all right because of the profound sense of trust that the labyrinth had given her.
Wendy will forever be immensely grateful for the loving care that her UUCGV family provided her and her family during the six months of surgery, chemo and rehabilitation.
Two years after her cancer diagnosis Wendy was installed as the “called minister” of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley.
The UUCGV community is flourishing. We are holding the hearts of all within, and reaching out to the greater community, standing on the side of love. Wendy has helped us build a space within our walls where everyone is encouraged to live into their fullest potential, a welcoming space where people are encouraged to bring their true self.
Wendy loves connecting with people where they really are, not where they were or where think they should be.
Wendy’s current word for her own spiritual self-work is “integration”. She is working on a seamless transition between her various roles – individual, minister, family life, etc. She wears a lot of hats – she wants to drop all the hats and “simply be”.
Life goes on... in endless song...Revelations