Yesterday, I worshipped at my childhood church. When I was a kid it was a vibrant alive energetic church with many organizations and a large congregation. But times change and today my church is a shell of its former self. The congregation of my youth has either moved away, passed away or moved on. There are still people there that I know and appreciate. People who work hard to keep the church going and support each other. For this I am grateful. My mom still attends and participates as an usher, a counter, in Bible Studies, selling flowers and pumpkins during fundraisers. My Dads name is on a plaque downstairs honoring him as their first president of the United Methodist Men and my brother is on a plaque along with others as an Eagle Scout. My family is connected to this church and it's history and I am honored to be a part of the memories.
When I think about the changes to this place, I called my church home and family for 18 years I guess I should be sad. But I am not. I feel blessed to have experienced the relationships, the laughter, the opportunities to learn and grown in faith. I feel blessed to have had a place as a child and young adult that I knew was safe and where I could develop my belief system. So, as I see this place, this church that I am not sure will make it into next year, I smile and remember the good times. The times when my friends and I prayed together. I smile as I recall my Dad teaching my Sunday School class about Paul on the road to Damascus with his friend Mr. Fernandez. I think about my brother receiving his Eagle Scout award in the basement of the church, I think about playing Mary in the Nativity story, singing in the youth choir, going on retreats, alcolyting and dressing up like a UNICEF box to ask the congregation to support this wonderful charity. So, how can I be sad when so much good has taken place. I just have to remember that change happens and with change often times rebirth leads us to our next great adventure. I will be in prayer for my beautiful church and I will look forward to seeing what comes next and cherish the past that I so appreciate.
What about you? Do you have a church family you love or have loved? If so, keep in mind we are all needed to help it continue to thrive and grow for ourselves and the next generation. We cannot take for granted the impact our connected church community can have on an individual or a family and on the people the church is there to serve.
Wishing you Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,