On June 6th, Interfaith Philadelphia’s wide circle of friends gathered at Tabernacle United Church in University City to celebrate the Rev. Nicole Diroff. Nicole, who served our organization over nearly the whole of its history in roles from student intern to Associate Director, stepped away from her work to move with her family to Scarborough, Maine, where her husband, Dr. Jeremy Diroff, is a new member of the staff of the Maine Veterinary Medical Center. It was an occasion that can only be described as bittersweet as those who came together from so many different parts of Nicole’s life came together in Nicole’s home congregation space to honor the amazing leader Nicole has been – celebrated her successes – and blessed her going forth to new endeavors not yet quite fully imagined.
Several speakers offered their praise and thanksgiving – these words from Milan Kunz, a member of Interfaith Philadelphia's Religious Leaders Council, certainly resonated for many of us –
"Nicole, as a disciple of God, one of the purposes of life is to obtain His attributes…
Faith is an attribute of God. Nicole is a person of great faith. Faith leads to action which includes a dedicated service to others. I have seen Nicole’s dedication as she has worked diligently with the RLC…What I initially thought was impossible, through Nicole and her faith, became possible.
Hope, or a vision of the future, is a God-like attribute. I have seen Nicole in meetings with others and could see how she was a driving force in creating the vision for the organization.
Knowledge is another attribute of God that Nicole is developing. Nicole is like a sponge, constantly soaking up information from other faiths. Her main method of knowledge acquisition was by asking inspired questions."
And founding Board member Dick Fernandez offered these sage words, both a reflection and a charge to Nicole –
"George Bernard Shaw left us with this advice: 'There are some who look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?' Nicole, please don’t be swayed by Mr. Shaw. For the past many years, both here in this church and at the Interfaith Center, you have been asking why AND why not… keep it up. Your curiosity hinges on you asking both questions…"
Nicole blessed us generously with her gifts, presence, talents and passions. It was our turn to offer our thanksgiving and good wishes – with our tears and laughter both.