— Tara Jernigan is a vocational deacon in the Anglican Church in North America.  She teaches Biblical Languages to high school students at Veritas Scholars’ Academy and serves as an adjunct instructor for Trinity School for Ministry. Tara and her husband have two teenagers and one adult son.


What’s in a Name?

Sure, we tolerate the immigrant and the minority, but do we accept them for who they are, with their curly hair, broken English, strange foods, and cultural habits? Or do we complain that they’re too loud, too intimidating, too distracting, or simply exotic?
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Unfinished Writing

  Spring, 2019: I started off the day with a rather reluctant middle-school Sunday School class. The hour was early for them, and they had not yet fully realized their daily resurrection from the dead. At some point, in a moment of attitude (adult version, I can be almost as...
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Singing in the Darkness

  “Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout salvation for the victory of our mighty king . . .” These are the opening words of the Exsultet, the chant sung by the deacon at the Great Vigil of Easter invoking all powers and creatures to...
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Hollow Footsteps

There had been a notable uptick in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe. Alone on a lonely street in the heart of Paris, I wondered if just standing where I was could make me a target of either suspicion or of hate. The door to the Holocaust Memorial was locked, as only three or four...
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Spina Bifida: Where Some Have Led the Way

  “The baby won’t live to be fourteen.” Our grandmother would announce her skepticism about my cousin’s life expectancy as easily as she would announce that the weatherman had predicted rain. Of course, there was nothing magic about the age of fourteen—every anticipated...
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Of Soap and Water

  I briefly wondered who had taught him the English words “soap” and “five.” He couldn’t have been more than ten years old, standing out on the sidewalk in 90-degree heat with his satchel full of soap and a smile that radiated to his eyes. “Soap? Five shekel.” Our guide...
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Letting Weeping Spend the Night

  It was the twenty-third of May, and I found myself face to face with a small, sticky-sweet-looking red velvet cake. I may have considered the purchase for a few moments; cake isn’t healthy after all. In the end, though, I brought it home, and we had it for dessert. My...
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Learning the Language

  Every Thursday morning I have a little cross-cultural experience. The rituals of greeting—taking off my shoes before entering a home, warm exchanges, inquiring about one another’s families—come fairly naturally to me. More difficult is a solicitous style of text messaging, in...
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With New Eyes

I am rarely left speechless. Snappy retorts are part of my native language, and those few times when my mother’s instructions for what to do when I cannot say anything nice dominate my response, the conversation in question is likely a memorable one. Oddly enough, these...
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Lessons from a Foster Family

  It was two in the morning when a little round face popped up from the mattress, looked right and left, and then asked, “Umma?” He was ten months old and had already mastered the intonation of a question. It was two in the morning when I patted my little son on the back and...
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