Many people who will read this will already know who Betty Pulkingham is. Her first husband, the Rev. Graham Pulkingham was a founding visionary in the Renewal movement in the Episcopal Church, and very important Rector of Houston’s Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
In her own right, Mrs. Pulkingham is one of the most important contributors of the music from that period and beyond. This description is totally inadequate, but if I used all the space this format will allow, I would still fall short.
Probably the best short summary of Betty’s true importance came to me from a local Methodist pastor, who voiced to me his private and very serious opinion that in years to come, Betty Pulkinghman will be honored, for her musical gift to the church, as of equal importance with Charles Wesley.
I have just finished reading Betty Pulkingham’s new book,
“This is My Story, this is My Song: A Life Journy”
I had the privilege of knowing Mrs. Pulkingham and her husband during their second stay in Houston, although not to the level that she would remember me, and have at least met many of the people of whom she speaks. There is much from that time I still am trying to understand. I was hoping that Betty would help me put more of the pieces together, but she did not do that. She did something better.
Mrs. Pulkingham didn’t give me any of the thoughtful, or theological reflections I may have wanted from her husband, or others, but she did give me the story of a good woman, a good wife, a good mother. Her love for her husband and for her children, for her (sometimes VERY) extended family and ultimately, for her Lord comes floating off every page like the sweet scent of a magnolia tree in bloom.
There have been other rather painful books working with the story of Church of the Redeemer, and which refer to the Rev. Pulkingham; one of which I think quite insightful and very important. But in the midst of all the unpleasantness, this book, this gift, is a sweet balm; a reminder from a different point of view of “what it was it all about.”
My questions remain. I think there is much to learn in understanding some of the troubles that came over us. And along with that need to understand, there often comes the voice of the accuser, now as in the time of Job. But against that voice, God seems to be saying “Have you considered my servant Betty…?”
What-ever and why-ever the failures were, the point of the endeavor was to live purposefully surrendered to the love of God, in whatever that might mean. Betty’s music, and her life; her story and her song, is a permanent testament to God’s glory powerfully revealed in that effort.
Thank you Betty for showing it to me again.