Sticking to his traditional first question, Rev. Goodwin asked Rev. Kogut how her son would describe her. She said she thinks he would call her funny because he posts "mom quotes" on his Instagram account. She also said he would describe her as kind, loyal, and a believer in people.
Rev. Goodwin then asked how she was balancing self-care with nurturing others in her ministry. Rev. Kogut shared how her family had covenanted during the pandemic the keep each other safe and make conscious choices that focused on the impact on others. She said that kind of care allowed them to be together.
"My hope and my prayer is that churches have that level of intimacy and love for one another, that they want to covenant with each other to provide safety. That that's why we do the things that we do.," said Rev. Kogut.
The conversation about covenant moved into Rev. Kogut's journey to ministry when Rev. Goodwin asked how she experienced covenant from the church as a minister.
Rev. Kogut shared a story of personal discovery in her teens and college years as a young person of faith in the American Baptist church. Hearing an early call to ministry, she went to seminary. In those early years of adulthood, she discovered her sexual orientation and found that it conflicted with her goals of being a pastor. Though she felt strong ties to the Baptist church, she did not feel it would be in covenant with her fully. After receiving Privilege of Call in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Kogut found a denomination that welcomed her.
"I felt like they covenanted with me and my ministry. And by that, I mean, I could bring my full God created self and all my craziness and my gender and my orientation and my pocket saxophone or whatever else it is that I might have that day and feel the denomination say, 'Welcome. We see your gifts. We're glad you're here.'"
Rev. Kogut also shared a story in which a former pastor and mentor in the ABC church responded to her sharing her conflict. The pastor listened to her as she shared uncertainty about her call as a minister and her discovery that she was gay. The pastor responded by asking, "don't you think that maybe God knew you before you knew yourself and God called you into ministry, not in spite of who you are, but because of who you are?"
One theme that continued to rise in the conversation was Outdoor Ministry. Rev. Kogut grew up with an outdoor ministry tradition similar to the UCC outdoor ministries. She eventually become a Dean at Silver Lake Camp and Retreat Center. She believes that outdoor ministry offers children a space where they can be seen as children of God.
"I think a piece of what's really powerful is to get kids out of their environment, into a new environment," said Rev. Kogut. "I think there is such an incredible power in nature and in the beauty of God's creation and giving kids access to things that they wouldn't normally have access to."
Watch the full interview here:
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...