An ordained Episcopal priest for 20+ years, I am now semi-retired with a rather small pension so I do services at a tiny little church in the country, work full-time for AAA as an Auto Travel Counselor where I get to take people's money (open and renew accounts) and tell them where to go (help them route trips), and do free-lance writing and other virtual jobs on the internet.
I have one son, Scott, who is married to Stacey, and 2 adorable grandchildren, Jared and Emily. They are all the center of my life and I spend as much time with them as all of the above activities will allow.
I am currently writing an eBook about my experiences in the ordination process of the church and the places I served. It has been a mixed bag of great fulfillment and joy as well as frustration and pain. It's due out in several months.
Closing in on the magic Social Security retirement age, I will soon be able to quit working for AAA or anybody where I have to punch a clock and work completely from home, doing what I love - writing and helping others with their work or their issues.
I'm Susan Bowman, ordained Episcopal priest better known in some circles as "the Lady Father." In fact, my memoir, which was published in May 2011, is called "Lady Father" because it chronicles my struggles with the ordination process in a diocese that had historically been solidly against women in the ordained ministry of the church. Our Bishop in 1980 was the Rt. Rev. C. Charles Vaché, a longtime opponent of women in any kind of leadership position in the church. He was beginning to soften his stance as he had not only allowed women to serve the chalice at the Eucharist, but had licensed a woman to be the interim Priest at a large parish in Virginia Beach.
Enter Susan Bowman, enthusiastic and much-loved lay youth minister. That would be me - feeling a strong call from God to do more than keep business signs from encroaching on the City of Petersburg's rights-of-way (I had been serving as the Zoning Administrator since 1977). Amazingly, the Bishop allowed me to enter seminary as a lay ministry student and, when it became clear to me that I was called to the Priesthood, he graciously and firmly granted me entrance into the ordination track of the Diocese's ministry training. This action caused quite a stir from the exuberance of most of the teenagers in the Diocese and my circle of friends and colleagues to the utter despair and horror, along with anger and hostility of the more traditional members.
You can read more about the book (click here) or you can read the entire story in "Lady Father," for sale on this site as well as on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
I am "retired" after 27 years of ordained ministry but it's true that old clergy never really retire - they just re-tire. These days my favorite Sunday place to hang out is a little United Methodist Congregation up in the country - it's called Jermain UMC and it is home to the sweetest bunch of people in the universe. Join us for worship at 9:00 am any Sunday.