Despite living “nine lives,” what integrates me into one whole person is God’s graceful, extravagant love that redeemed me in Jesus Christ.  If it were not for the comfort and courage of the Holy Spirit, I would be a self-absorbed, useless human being.  But as it is, God is patiently deconstructing an anxious past and shaping a life-giving, generous future for me; meanwhile, I am savoring the present moment, grateful for what God is doing to enable me to serve him better.

Those “nine lives” include

• family, in four generations, scattered up and down the West Coast. Married for 42 years, we try to stay in touch with our kids and granddaughter with quarterly visits.

• surviving lung cancer, which was formally diagnosed at Stage III on November 4, 2013. Full course of radiation concurrent with three rounds of  chemotherapy, lung surgery on March 3, 2014, and one more round of chemo. Declared cancer-free then, and a three-year all-clear confirms no evidence of cancer.

• part-time chaplaincy at a local hospital

• informal ministry, at the local coffee-shop, occasional consulting or speaking for churches, community volunteer service, and national involvement in support of lung cancer patients and families.

• formal ministry as PCUSA Teaching Elder (i.e. pastor), minister-at-large in San Francisco Presbytery, occasional relief preacher (“pulpit supply”)

• blogger and writer, working on “Bringing the Word to Life” daily and four books outlined and ready to churn out. I have enough writing assignments to last another nine lives.

• a Doctor of Ministry graduate (Fuller), and author of dissertation on “Reclaiming the Ministry of Teaching in the Missional Setting”

• managing a lovely home and the creative projects that emerge (cooking, quilting, vegetable gardening)

• tending the gift of music, both as listener (classical, live) and singer—and yes, I can still sing!

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9 Responses to “About the Rev. Mary Holder Naegeli, D.Min.”


  1. Dear Mary,
    You came to my mind today during devotions. . .I don’t expect you to remember me. . .I think it was one of the Mount Hermon Women’s Retreats where we first met and I was on the planning staff. . .we moved to Fresno. Now we’re back to Orinda. . .in Fresno I met Bishop John Davis Schofield. . .pursued a M.Div . .got commissioned to sculpt Stations of the Cross for the chapel of Holy Innocents. . .I am missing a place to worship for morning prayers like I enjoyed at the Anglican Chapel in Fresno. what’s available in this neck of the woods?

  2. Joan Dame Says:

    Mary, it’s by chance I found your blog and am blessed. It has been 20 years since I saw you at Mark’s memorial, where you last blessed me greatly. I am praying for you with love.

    • revmary Says:

      Joan, it is so good to hear from you…are you still in the Bay Area? I am sorry we have lost touch. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since Mark’s death. I trust Jesus has been a comfort to you since then. Mark was such a good man and I have fond memories of him and your family. Thank you for your prayers! —Mary

  3. houstonhodges Says:

    I’m so glad we’re friends.

  4. john dorman Says:

    Mary – I wonder if you are coming to Walt’s funeral this week – I have just written to Metta recalling my coming back to Christ in 1979 at Mt. Hermon, culminating in my giving my testimony at the sunrise service at Frost on Easter – Music by Salt and Light! Thanks too for your contribution!

    • revmary Says:

      Plan A is yes, I am hoping to go. But a couple hours ago Andy, riding his motorcycle to work, was hit by a car running a red light. So I am currently at Highland Hospital waiting to lay eyes on him. Preliminary reports on his condition are encouraging, no trauma but checking for broken legs. God is good and God is strong!


  5. Mary..I thought of you when I read this:
    Reviving Old Wells
    By John Kuperus, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 12:00 AM
    Scripture Reading: Genesis 26:18-25

    Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up . . . .
    Genesis 26:18

    Throughout the history of the church, many Christian communities have been wells of living water that have helped to provide spiritual life. They have brimmed with people praising God, but now in some places the living water in old churches and cathedrals is running out. They once were places where their surrounding communities found sustenance and strength in God, but now many are empty reminders of the past.

    Isaac was called to remain in the land and avoid going away to Egypt in a time of famine (Genesis 26:1-6). Egypt had abundant fresh water and fertile land even in times of famine, but Canaan was barren and dry. Isaac was called to trust in God for his security during this lean time. He obeyed God and redug wells in the places his father Abraham had dug. He experienced setbacks because of quarreling and was unable to keep the first two wells. He then moved and dug a third well, “and no one quarreled over it.” So “he named it Rehoboth, saying, ‘Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.’”

    Today we need people with courage who share God’s love and help to revive old wells to bring living water again. Even in troubled times we can take heart, because God will make room for us and fill us with living water. May we overflow with God’s love to everyone!

    Lord, thank you for spiritual ancestors who faithfully tended wells of living water. By your Spirit, may old wells nourish communities again. Amen.

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