We all remember the world-wide Mother Theresa, in a similar way, we remember our RCA-wide Mother Clara, whom we love and honor. Every soul who crossed her path have been blessed in some way. A smile on her face, a message that she preached, a powerful prayer of a warrior that uplifted many souls.
The Reverend Clara Althia Woodson aka “Mother Clara” who has left a legacy throughout the Reformed Church in America especially, in the East Coast, Regional Synod of New York. As she touched many in ministries, with her gentle spirit, uplifted heavy souls on the verge of leaving ministry or call from God, at crossroads, or in deep depths of decision-making that changed the courses of their lives. She encouraged the struggling soul with deep compassion, understanding, and respect in knowing what that soul is going through. She was able to discern what that person’s inner soul needed at that moment to bring him/her into the reality in how to move forward and enter into the loving presence of God. Embracing that moment to give thanks in struggle or crossroads and gain the courage to surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ and to completely trust in the path or call that God is leading into. Through her years of prayers, messages, and hugs, many are uplifted through the Holy Spirit. Remembering gentle and powerful words of encouragement through intermittent visits and her sermon on April 12, 2015, “It’s going to be okay, Trust God, Put God first, Don’t try to learn it all, Learn how God speaks to you, Don’t worry, Pray without ceasing, Seek wisdom from God, God is always with you, God is working and changing you and the denomination in ways we cannot see today…Change will come.” Mother Clara, you are right, there is change today. God is transforming not only us, but our churches, classes, synods, and denomination. Sometimes, we do not know how to adjust or manage this change, but we will put God first, trust in Him, learn little by little, pray without ceasing, seek wisdom from God, and surrender ourselves to the LORD and His will for us as we all move forward toward change. Even though we see different faces and different journeys of faith in leadership, as we listened to her message of hope, learning, BEING a light, and keeping the Call that God has given us, putting God first. Also, remembering that we are called to endure through thick and thin to love and serve our LORD Jesus Christ, our brothers, and sisters in ways that will stretch us and strengthen us to be ONE in DIVERSITY to share the Good News and love of Jesus Christ…to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to a lost and broken world.
We remember the answer to Question 1 of Heidelberg Catechism:
“Q1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?”
“A1: That I am not my own, but belong-body and soul, in life and in death-to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assure me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.”
We love you and miss you, Mother Clara, your body and soul belongs to Jesus Christ. The souls that you have touched are still here not only to remember you in your legacy but to carry on the work that you started in the RCA: in your Call, in your ministry to all who have crossed paths with you, in your great journey of faith, and your message, PUT GOD FIRST. (Note: If anyone was blessed by Mother Clara in any way, please share a moment that she has done so and how.)
in honor and love for Mother Clara, spiritual mother to all,
Rev. Grace Rim (who once could not speak in front of people)