She Rises Again

Hers is a story of biblical proportion. After two years of roller coaster health crises and rebound recoveries, Michele Birch-Conery, bishop ARCWP escapes near death once again. This time the trajectory of her resurrection is much different both on the physical and spiritual plane.

Michele was admitted to a long-term care facility in December 2019. The decision was made on an emergency basis, a choice between hospice and long-term care. Michele’s health had significantly deteriorated after a recurrence in August 2018 of a childhood genetic condition called cyclic vomiting syndrome. The pain that accompanies such a condition is dire and often lasts for five days. Michele had to be hospitalized for dehydration and electrolyte imbalances several times since then. Nonetheless, she continued to serve in her capacity as a bishop with ARCWP, sometimes teaching us how to pastor and to collaborate on her behalf through her physical challenges. The justice work of advocating for an elder as her power of attorney from the “outside” was another learning curve for me.

*Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, ARCWP