Today is November 6th and yes, I’m thankful for democracy and thankful for the right to vote but what is really on my heart right now is how thankful I am for the input of the churches and church families I’ve been involved in since I was a little girl.
1. This is the church I have the earliest memories of, though I know we attended others at this time too. New Covenant Church. Paw’s church. A church where there was dancing in the aisles and tambourines ringing. Where the sound of everyone opening their Bibles sounded like rain. Stained glass windows filling the sanctuary with a glow and a gigantic pipe organ…I used to count the pipes as I leaned against Paw. I learned there that worship is for everyone, even the little children and that worship is precious to God’s heart. That He inhabits the praises of His people.
2. As a tween, we went to Seaford Baptist. I was an awkward, quiet teenager who didn’t get involved in much. But I remember being allowed to serve in the nursery for the first time. And it is there that I discovered that I loved that kind of work. Flannel graph stories and little songs for little ones.
3. In my teen years, it was York Christian Fellowship and I had so much spiritual growth here. I sang on Sundays, worked with the kids sometimes and I knew everyone and everyone knew me. People invested in me and loved on me and I learned the importance of really knowing and being known. This did not stop me from a period of rebellion in my late teens, but I think it set the stage for my prodigal return.
4. The Vineyard. I went here as a young mother and it was the first church I’d chosen for myself. I learned here that I loved the body of Christ, I loved the Church and wanted desperately to be a part of it.
5. Zion Methodist. I loved my time here. I was a youth group leader and it was a job that I loved dearly. It was wonderful to go to a church in the community I lived in. I loved serving with people I saw in the grocery store or lived down the street from. I love singing in the choir. Zion gave me confidence in what I had to offer.
6. Where do I even begin? Hope Community Church. Where I was changed, refined and where my relationship with Jesus became real and tangible. I learned about my broken places at Hope and I learned how to let Jesus heal them. I learned about my flaws and how to become better. I was loved well by community and I had a place in it. I was able to serve within my giftings and when it was a stretch and that helped me know myself better. Twelve years and I wouldn’t be who I am without those twelve years and without that place and those people.
7. And now WEC. You’ll often hear our pastor say, “We’re going to change the way the peninsula feels about church.” but being a part of WEC has changed the way I feel about church. I’m no longer a consumer, out to find the perfect church that meets my needs. No, I want to be on the front lines, meeting the needs of God’s beloved ones.
I am thankful for these places. For the worship choruses, Scripture songs, hymns and free worship. For the out loud prayers of impassioned believers to the quiet prayers of the reserved. For the kindness of every single person I’ve ever done ministry with.For every Pastor, elder, ministry leader and for every student, child, teen and adult that I’ve come into contact with…I am thankful for all that I have learned.
I think it’s so incredible how God uses people, places and even things to weave us into who we are today.
Thank you Lord for the local church, for using it to minister to people. For using it to draw people closer to You. For using it to change our hearts and heal our wounds. It is beautiful.