Cynthia Bolbach came to McCormick on May 5, 2011, as the featured speaker of the Board of Trustee’s Annual Leadership Dinner. I remember her visit because Senior Director of Seminary Relations and Development Sam Evans and President Cynthia Campbell invited me to pick her up from O’Hare Airport. I worked in the Development Office and, as Session Moderator, I also sat on McCormick’s Board of Directors. It was a warm sunny day and I celebrated the opportunity to represent McCormick and pick up the Moderator. This was one of those august moments when it didn’t matter that I was a member of the United Church of Christ; it was more important that I was a member of the human race. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t my friend.
If memory serves me correctly, Madame Moderator was flying to Chicago from Louisville, Kentucky. As I sat in one of O’Hare’s parking lots, she called me to say the flight had been delayed. She wanted me to return to McCormick without her and she’d take a cab. “Oh, no,” I stated. “I will just wait for you.” I could not even imagine telling President Campbell that I had left the Moderator at the airport. What kind of hospitality is that? This was one of several calls that she would make to me. As it turned out, her plane was 2 hours late! But Moderator Bolbach stayed in communication with me as much as she possibly could.
By the time her plane finally, we were old friends who loved celebrating the goodness of the Lord. She moved very quickly from the plane through the airport to my sky blue Mariner truck. By the time we met for the first time we felt like old friends. The drive from O’Hare to McCormick seemed to take no time at all as we laughed about her extended flight. I was certainly struck by Cynthia’s sense of humor, attention to details, and her warmth.
Later that evening Cynthia’s presentation to the Board of Trustees was filled with hope about the future of the church and gratitude for the men and women who graciously serve on McCormick’s Board of Trustees. I never saw Cynthia again and I’m not certain who took her to the airport the next day. But a piece of my heart broke today when I read about her death. Without question, the world was a much better place because she stopped by for such a short time.
Michele Edwards is McCormick’s Communications Coordinator. She received her Master of Divinity in May, 2011.