Hayley Cohen spent a memorable year working with Louise as a fulltime student assistant before starting her theological studies at Princeton. Here is her tribute.
Today, my friend and mentor, Louise, died peacefully in Scotland. I can say without question that Louise changed my life.
In 2011, I was trying to figure out what to do with my year between college and seminary. My resume was sent out, with the help of my friend Nicola, to all the churches in the Edinburgh area. That is how Louise and I first met. My resume landed on her desk and she picked it up with enthusiasm because I was eager to learn, ready to do anything, had some experience, and I was willing to get paid very little! Through various emails back and forth, Louise and I decided that Balerno Parish Church was the right fit for me and that I would make a welcomed and needed addition to their ministry.
In August of 2012, I packed up my bags and moved to Scotland for a year. During that year, I watched Louise minister to the people of Balerno and she taught me how to minister to others and myself. Her pastoral care style was gentle, loving, and full of humor. Louise was always diplomatic, she had an incredible way of diffusing awkward situations and I always said and still say that I wish I had that gift. If there was anyone to learn about how to handle church meetings from, it was Louise.
Twice, Louise and I were asked if she was my mother, even though she was less than 20 years older than me, we look nothing alike, and I’m American. She always got a kick out of that. In a way, she was a motherly ministry presence in my life. She was always gentle with me but pushed me to try new things, to be bold in my faith, and to ask God where I was being sent. Watching Louise work was an honor and a joy. Working with Louise gave me experiences that I will never forget and have shaped me into the person that I am today. She said to me in her thank you note at the end of my year in Balerno “You have been an answer to prayer, an equal colleague, and enthusiastic advocate, a confidant, and a good friend.” I will never forget these words as long as I live. Louise is with God and all the Saints – she certainly was a saint to me. She lives on in my heart and the hearts of so many others who have had their lives touched and changed by her beautiful spirit.