Readings for Harriet Bedell: January 8
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon* of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.” (Romans 16:1-2)
Today we remember the Reverend Harriet Bedell, Deacon in God’s one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Paul shares his appreciation of the work of Phoebe, a deacon in his time. The work of a deacon too often goes unappreciated.
“Harriet Bedell was born in Buffalo, New York, on March 19, 1875. Inspired by an Episcopal missionary, she enrolled as a student at the New York Training School for Deaconesses, where she was instructed in religion, missions, teaching, and hygiene. She then became a missionary-teacher among the Cheyenne at the Whirlwind Mission in Oklahoma. In 1916, Bedell was sent to Stevens Village, Alaska, where she was finally set apart as a deaconess in 1922. She also served as a teacher and nurse at St. John’s in the Wilderness at Allakaket, just 40 miles south of the Arctic Circle, from which she sometimes traveled by dogsled to remote villages. During her last years in Alaska, Bedell opened a boarding school.” (Great Cloud of Witness for January 8)
I have come to realize that the way you can tell a call is from God is that it is often inconvenient, will cost you your time and money and makes you uncomfortable. It will benefit someone or persons outside of your group and you will receive no observable reward. Thank You Jesus. But you will know without a doubt that it is what God wants of you.
“In 1932, hearing about the plight of the Seminoles in Florida, Bedell used her own salary to reopen a mission among the Mikasuki Indians. There, she worked to revive some of their traditional crafts: doll making, basket-weaving, and intricate patchwork designs…..Active into her eighties, Deaconess Bedell drove an average of 20,000 miles per year during her ministry.” (Great Cloud of Witness for January 8)
“Bedell emphasized health and education rather than religious conversion in her work with the Seminoles; their spiritual and physical comfort was more important to her than religious conversion, and her work and friendship with the Seminoles of Florida reflected those values.” (from the Florida Memory Project http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/Bedell.htm)
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John