Sunday, June 12, 2011


I love our church.  It's open and active in mission.  It's inclusive and warm and loving.  I love that my girls are growing up in a place where everyone is welcome.

Our new pastor started about two months ago and today she told us why she chose our church.  She chose our church because the Holy Spirit truly calls us to action and we listen and go forth.  Throughout Presbyterian Church USA our church is known as the church in the flood zone.  We are the first shelter to open when the River floods.  You don't check to see if you have water in your own basement, you know someone else is worse off and you grab your kids and you navigate detours and you get to the church because the Holy Spirit is so alive in our congregation that you can't not go.  As she said, "You don't just talk the talk, you walk the walk."

She told of a woman who came in the other day and had lost her job, didn't have money for gas for her car to go on interviews, didn't have food for her kids and couldn't pay her electric bill.  Social services couldn't help her and they told her to come to our church because we "do things like that."  Our Deacons collect money and purchase gas cards, gift cards for the food stores and electric company and there is a reserve of cash as well.

We are also partner with 8 area churches to host homeless families every 8 weeks.  My family prepares and shares meals with these families. My girls play with the children, I talk to the mothers, Jason hangs with the fathers...and we all realize how similar all human beings are.  These people bless our lives.

During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, our church had been instrumental in starting a school and orphanage for Rwandan children.  A few years ago, at Christmastime, some of these children were touring the United States playing Rwandan music and dancing.  They blessed our church with a visit that our family will never forget:

At the end, we were all invited up front to dance.  The energy was something that I will never, ever forget.  It was beautiful & unifying & amazing.

I've been a member of four churches during my lifetime and I have never been part of a church like this.  I am so glad to be raising my girls in a church that accepts and loves everyone, just as Jesus told us to do (John 13:34).  I am so glad that my girls get to see that mission and service is an important component to worship. I am so happy that my girls are being taught acceptance instead of judgement, understanding instead of isolating, grace instead of separation.

My girls are in church choir and bell choir and Sunday school now.  Next year, A will be able to join our Junior High Youth Group and she can not wait.

Our youth goes to Appalachia every summer to help re-build homes.  My girls are counting down the years until they are old enough to go.

Our youth adopted a town in Africa.  They sent money for food, clothing and books.  They raised money so that the town could have a well.  Prior to our youth raising money, the townspeople needed to walk 5 miles each way for fresh water.  The town invited our church members to come see the well when it was completed.  We raised money for church members to go.

Almost every single family in our Congregation has sponsored at least one child through World Vision.  Both of our girls' Sunday school classes have sponsored a child.  Each Sunday, my girls eagerly and happily bring in their share of the monthly donation and look forward to hearing from the child their class sponsors.  

We have groups of adults volunteer to go to Appalachia several times a year to help re-build homes.  We also have groups that go to Africa and South America regularly to help re-build homes.

We participate in One Great Hour of Sharing, One Life Revolution, and Homes and Hope for Louisiana.

I am so happy to be part of a church that is inclusive and mission driven; a church where I can truly feel the Holy Spirit working in me to be more open, more giving, more caring, more forgiving, more loving.

Today, as I listened to our pastor's Pentecost sermon, I suddenly knew that God has brought us here for this church.  It is important that we are  here.  We are here so that our children can grow up in this church that values mission and service and loving others above judging others.  So that we can be part of an inclusive, loving, accepting, mission driven and service oriented place of Worship.  Our church does not merely listen to the what Jesus said, we are moved by the Holy Spirit to act in the way Jesus calls us to act.