The Holy Spirit's Creativity in Three Lives: Remembering The Rev. Candace Cessna
Three women … their stories intertwined.
Two were embarking on United Methodist Ministry as a second career. One was a career licensed school counselor in
Both had goals of being a Certified Pastoral Counselor. One was on the Elder’s track for ordination in the California-Nevada Annual Conference with dreams of completing her Doctorate of Ministry degree, while the other enrolled in Wesley Seminary in
Their paths diverged when on January 16, 2007 the Rev. Candace Cessna, pastor of Woodside Road UMC in
But her dream of becoming a Pastoral Counselor is still alive in the Rev. Jean Hankins, who is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at
But you will remember that there is a third woman in this story. She is Commander Barbara M. Williams of
Barbara’s journey on this earth was not an easy one, involving three different periods of hospitalization over a 30-year period – but it was an inspirational one, as her friend and colleague, The Rev. Dr. O. Ray Fitzgerald of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, can attest. Inspirational, in fact, even as it ended.
Fitzgerald, a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps and Diplomat in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, was Barbara’s spiritual friend and mentor. He encouraged her to present hospitalization and treatment from the perspective of a patient to students of Clinical Pastoral Education. He also presided over her final rite in burial at
Rev. Fitzgerald guided $10,000 in scholarship funds from the estate of Barbara Williams to Dranesville UMC, where the scholarship will assist Jean Hankins in the pursuit of her Master of Social Work degree. Jean says, “May God bless Candace’s and Barbara’s memories as I carry forward their dream of being a pastoral counselor.”
Rev. Fitzgerald offers this story as a tribute to the Rev. Candace Cessna, as the anniversary of her death approaches.
(In photo above Jean Hankins is shown with her pastor, the Rev. Tim Craig, receiving a $10,000 scholarship toward her Master of Social Work studies from the estate of Commander Barbara M. Williams.)