Rev. Janet Hodge: | NEON Vice Chair & Chair of the | Governance Committee | Read the Hour Article: | Mother's voice leads daughter to | commit life to God.
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It was her
mother's voice that first introduced Hodge
to the sounds
of church when she
"My mother was always singing," Hodge
"Because I was the
youngest of nine children, I was home with her
a lot, so I got to hear her
I know all the old hymns by heart."
Hodge, who has been an ordained minister for the past eight years,
is celebrating her
fifth anniversary at the Norwalk United Methodist
Without knowing it, Hodges' mother's voice was also the gentle
one that guided her
to this life of ministry in the church.
Hodges' mother died when Hodge
"My faith grew out of my grieving," she
Hodges' grandfather taught her
to read when she
was three using the Bible as a textbook and as Hodge
tried to cope with her
mother's death she
read a lot of scriptures and sang many of the hymns her
"One day I had an epiphany while praying," Hodge
"I had a sense of a presence around me and I
knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a priest."
couldn't because she
was a girl.
, who was raised in the Anglican church, was disappointed by this, and soon found herself drifting
away from the church.
"I was struggling to fulfill God's calling to me," she
was in her
returned to the church when a friend invited her
christening at Crawford United Methodist Church
in the Bronx.
found that she
still wanted to
commit herself to Christ and follow his
call - only the timing was not exactly perfect.
"I had a successful career as a business woman and I wasn't ready to give that up just yet," Hodge
"The salaries of ministers and pastors wasn't that great, and I wasn't sure if I could take a pay cut."
soon realized that the pull to the altar was stronger than the pull on her
"I wanted to be who God wanted me to be," Hodge
started to feel nervous about telling her
husband about her
"It took me awhile to break the news to him," she
"There were a lot of sleepless nights, which he
knew I was having, but didn't know why."
finally told her
had a lot of questions but was ultimately supportive of her
decision to first return to school for a degree in psychology and then go on to the seminary.
were also supportive.
"My oldest daughter said, 'What took you so long?' She
always knew that was what I would end
up doing," Hodge
"That was very affirming to me."
was first assigned to a church in Hillsdale, New Jersey, then the Golden Hill United Methodist
Church in Bridgeport and then to Norwalk United Methodist Church
arrived at the Norwalk United Methodist Church
five years ago she
was coming to
a church with a rich history.
Hodge is also trying to get to know other members of the community by serving as vice-chair of the NEON
board, sits on the board of the Human Services Council
, is chair of the Dr. Robert E. Appleby School-based
Health Centers, co-chair of the Norwalk Clergy Association
and a member of Interdenominational Ministers
Despite the challenges it sometimes presents and the hard work it took to get here, Hodge
never doubted her
choice to leave the business world to join the ordained ministry.
"The best part of my ministry has been sharing intimate moments with people, both the good and the