Margaret Dee Bratcher
Of all the things I love to do, nothing beats 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. These people 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 their lives would mean something. And they 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 (yes, that's a little humor), we may learn, as they did, the important lessons of experience. Along with them we are invited to imagine—to dream, to envision, to hope for—the life towards 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, Hebrew and Greek every so often, and writing-instruction courses in our General Education program. My teaching reflects my training in narrative interpretation and biblical languages and also my interest in the study of people. Presently I’m reading in biblical archaeology and studying gender imagery, especially masculinity, in the Hebrew Bible.
The 2014-2015 academic year marked my 30th year of teaching at Mercer. My husband, Fred Bongiovanni, is a professor in Mercer's Penfield College. We have a son, Brice, and daughter, Drew, who were born in Macon, grew up here, and attended Macon's public schools, graduating with International Baccalaureate diplomas from Central High School before they headed off to college. They are both now in graduate school: Brice is in the PhD program in religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin, while Drew is in the MDiv program at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Fred and I are deacons and Sunday School teachers at First Baptist Church, and I participate in FBC's Global Women's group and 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 in the College Hill Corridor--St. Joseph Catholic and High Street Unitarian--to benefit women locally and globally.