Margaret Dee Bratcher
Of all the things I love to do, nothing surpasses teaching the Bible to Mercer students. I love to read its stories and talk with my students about the people whose lives are written on its pages. Saints and sinners all, they hoped and dreamed and doubted and feared. They knew moments of triumph and celebration and times of defeat and mourning. They struggled to find their way in the world—to live right and keep their promises, to do good work and raise their families. They prayed that life would mean something. These people are not so very different from any of us.
We grow and develop and make our way in the world by experience and imagination. In the stories of Moses, Ruth, and David, of Peter, Paul, and Mary, we may learn, as they did, the lessons of experience. Along with them we are invited to imagine—to dream, to envision, to hope for—the life toward which God calls us all. Reading their stories can help us hear the call of faith that beckons us. That’s certainly true for me.
I teach the Bible, Greek, Hebrew every now and then, and integrative courses in the General Education curriculum. My teaching reflects my training in narrative interpretation and biblical languages, and also my long-time interest in the study of people (in my college days I took a lot of courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and history, and I continue to read in those fields as a hobby). Presently I’m studying vocation and the call stories in the Bible.
On a personal note, this academic year 2013-2104 marks my 29th year of teaching at Mercer. I can't imagine spending my career anywhere else but this wonderful place. My husband, Fred Bongiovanni, is a professor in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, and we've making Macon our home. We are members of First Baptist Church, where we are deacons and Sunday School teachers, and our two children, our son Brice and daughter Drew, were born here and attended Macon's public schools, both graduating with International Baccalaureate diplomas from Central High School before they headed off to college. I'm an active member of FBC's Global Women's group and our Circle of Hope; we sponsor an annual fair-trade festival in November, called Bless These Hands, with women from the other churches on Macon's High Street--St. Joseph Catholic and High Street Unitarian.