What does it mean to live in transitional or in-between times?
It can be incredibly frightening and we might be in one now. We're not always in control of what's going on around us. We saw that with King Herod's rage and fear and when he commits the slaughter of the innocents, and we also see that now with COVID. So much is out of our hands with this pandemic and it feels like every time we wake up the news is changing: the hope of a vaccine, the hope of home-testing, and now we seem to be in the middle of yet another surge, and we can't control any of that. And remembering this--remembering what it may have been like to live in Jerusalem at this time can help us remember the shadow side of this celebration of epiphany-- sometimes we don't want to acknowledge this, but it's important to remember these shadow sides because they help us understand how we can live into this liminality.
Kristen Ostendorf is in her second year at General Theological Seminary, working on her Master's of Divinity. She is a postulant for holy orders in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. She has worked as an educator, primarily as a high school history teacher, for about 15 years, and a newspaper reporter and copy editor before that. Born in St. Louis, Kristen came to the East Coast to follow her career in journalism after she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with dual degrees in journalism and sociology. She earned her master’s degree in social studies education from Rutgers University in 2004 and has taught in a variety of environments. Most recently, she taught American and global history at a local Quaker school. She divides her time between New York City and Ambler, where she is raising her two daughters, Abigail and Tessa. Kristen has been active in a variety of ministries at her home church, Trinity Ambler, including serving with and coordinating the lay eucharistic ministry and the healing prayers team, and helping coordinate services on Zoom during the pandemic. In addition, she has engaged in anti-racism work, facilitating workshops for the diocese, her church, educators and the wider community on the topic of white privilege. Kristen has engaged in ministry with the most vulnerable in Philadelphia, most recently working with people who are unsheltered and suffering from substance abuse as part of a mendicant outreach effort of the Catholic Worker Clinic and The Clare Project in Kensington. This summer, she worked as a chaplain at Paoli Hospital, spending most of her time ministering to patients and their families in the ICU. When not studying, Kristen is a part-time educational consultant. She enjoys time with her girls, reading, running, walking, and hiking. Kristen looks for ways to lean into silence in the busyness of life.