REVEREND DIANE DILUZIO
Leading Our Prayers
Not many would have thought I would enter into the ministry at the stage of life most people are heading into retirement and the ‘good life’. But there it is: I began this ministry preparation process in 2002 and was ordained 2012 in the United Methodist Church of the Upper New York Conference. Prior to that I had held a variety of human services positions; among them, teacher, vocational rehabilitation professional, volunteer services manager, restaurant owner/operator. And there was motherhood and marriage. Motherhood has outlasted the marriages. I have served UMC congregations since 2005.
At times the pathways on this journey were well groomed, wide-open, and filled with endless possibilities; other times the road seemed only as long as the measure of my arm. But it is sufficient to say, God’s hand was in all of it! And am I blessed for it.!
One thing I have learned is that just because we think we have arrived at a resting place doesn’t mean we have. God is always creating something new, and God’s shepherds are not exempt from the renewing effects of the creating and Holy Spirit.
You might be wondering about the details, but they are too numerous to include in this short version of My Story. What I can tell you is that there were times I felt like Mother Mary singing ‘my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior”. There were also times when I wondered, like perhaps Joseph in the Book of Genesis, why did I deserve to be cast down into a pit, sold into captivity and imprisoned? And then there were moments of laments. Did I say ‘moments’. I should have said ‘weeks and months.
Yet, always, in the background is a rhythm of God’s presence that words cannot adequately describe. It is a rhythm that has accompanied me through my studies at Drew Theological School in Madison, NJ; through the commissioning process and preparations for ordinations; also through the death of loved ones, coping with illness and job loss, 2 divorces and separations from many friends. Adding an upbeat tempo to it all were two generously compassionate daughters, as many sons-in-heart, and five energetic, loving, creative grandsons (4-8 yr).
Hints of that rhythm can be found in Psalm 121; John 17; Isaiah 49:1-4 and 2Peter 3:8-9. These are the scriptures that bring God’s blessed assurance into my life everyday: God is all there needs to be; Jesus praying for present and future believers; God knowing me before I was born; and the reminder that all of us are important to God.
The wonder of God for me is that even though I began my faith journey in the Roman Catholic tradition, made a stopover in an Episcopal Community, and was welcomed into the Methodist camp at the turn of the 20th century, God is always the same God I met as a child in Mass, Sunday School, at my confirmation and the re-affirmation, and in my daily walk - The God of grace.