Through countless sermons, forums, special services, phone calls, private conversations, and calling us to serve, Nancy has nurtured the faith of Advent’s parishioners for 16 years. Over this same time, Nancy’s personal journey has taken her from deacon to rector. These have been tumultuous years at Advent and Nancy’s faithful presence has been a witness to God’s grace.
Nancy was hired as a deacon in August of 2005 by Father Dave Thomas. In her early years at Advent, Nancy worked with the outreach committee (now PIM) and pastoral care. She attended Lutheran Theological Seminary while working full-time--and she still had kids at home. When Father Dave died suddenly in December of 2009, Nancy was thrust into the role of ministering to a shocked and grieving congregation. Through the long and difficult interim period that followed, Nancy was the familiar, steady presence, reminding us of God's love for us and to love one another.
Nancy was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 2013 at the Episcopal Cathedral in Philadelphia. Many of us attended that wonderful day, witnessing her prostration, ordination, and sharing her joy. That joyous day certainly was one of the highlights of our time together.
During Fr. Michael Bullock’s time at Advent and his sudden departure, Nancy was with us, calm and reassuring. The vestry named Nancy as priest in charge in 2014, with the bishop’s blessing. She helped us recover our equilibrium after four difficult years. And she put her own mark on Advent, developing the 8:45 Simple Service, the handbell choir, the Artisan’s Fair, and balancing the budget. Meanwhile, Nancy continued her education, pursuing a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.
In May of 2017, Nancy was named rector--Advent’s first female rector. After writing her thesis on Incarnational Theology and the Spiritual Care of Persons Living with Dementia, Nancy completed her DMin program in 2017 and became The Reverend Dr. Nancy Hauser.
With an eye toward the future, Nancy supported embarking on a capital campaign and establishing the Building & Grounds Endowment. Nancy encouraged the revitalization of the Godly Play program, hosting a three day Godly Play training session with a team of ten Advent parishioners. Nancy continued her extraordinary pastoral care, regularly celebrating at area retirement communities.
Then in March 2020, the Covid19 pandemic sent the world into turmoil. Throughout the pandemic, the welfare of her parishioners has been paramount. Nancy developed creative ways to adapt the church including hundreds of virtual services, online educational offerings, outside worship, car communion, drive through ashes, and preaching from atop an 8 foot scaffold platform for Easter, always reminding us of God’s love for us. Meanwhile, over the past year, Nancy facilitated smooth staff transitions from Brian, Kathy and Ann, to Greg, Diana and Sarah. In February of this year, Dick Kirk, Advent’s rector emeritus, died. Nancy celebrated Dick’s life at his family funeral in February and his memorial service in August. And in August of this year, she hired Emma DiPace to be our director of children and youth ministries.
Throughout Nancy’s sixteen years at Advent, she has reminded us of God’s presence with us and with Advent. She has reminded us of the great commission and the commandments that frame our Christian life together. She has modeled for us how to live out our baptismal covenant. She has celebrated with us and shared our sorrows. She has witnessed countless times when God has raised one of us up to fill a need. Although she will no longer be with us, Nancy’s firm belief that God has a mission for Advent and that God will be with us to help us to fulfill that mission, gives us strength and courage as we turn our eyes to the future.
May God bless you, Nancy, as you have blessed Advent and all of us for sixteen years.