“Why Christ Church?”
I’ve been asking myself that question a lot recently – especially since our children have graduated from high school and no longer sing in the choir. Initially, we came here because of the kids. Choir, Sunday School, Midnight Run, Confirmation – we discovered a community to help us raise our children with Jesus Christ in their lives. Certainly we needed all the help we could get!
So why are we still here when the kids aren’t? It’s still about community! The community of Christ Church uplifts me with the precious offerings of Worship, Invitation, and Transformation.
The worship experience brings me closer to God, closer to Horst, and closer to the dear ones in the sanctuary. Whether melodious music uplifts me or a stunning campus offers beauty at every turn, worship at Christ Church rivals the most famous of churches in reaching my heart.
Then, there’s the Book of Common Prayer. Having grown up worshipping in a church service that I did not understand (literally), the Book of Common Prayer makes me feel empowered. Its lyrical and profound language helps me connect with my spiritual and poetic identity, and prompts me to ask questions and explore.
Looking for Answers
20+ years ago I came here with lots of questions: questions about the confusing and challenging issues that other faiths had implanted in me. At first, I found this new and different church frustrating and confusing, not the church that I was used to, not the church that I had rejected years before. To my surprise, in this place questions seemed to be welcomed, in fact, encouraged but there didn’t seem to be any answers to those questions. Answers, I wanted answers!
Over time, however, I learned that therein lay the joy and invitation of finding God in an open and non-judgmental space. To my surprise and delight, at Christ Church all were welcome and no one was “right.” No one claimed superiority, knowing all things to the exclusion of others. For example, early on, Loren Gregory asked me to teach church school. My response was, “I can’t. I’m not an Episcopalian. I don’t know the ‘right answers.’” When Loren responded, “You don’t need to. As long as you teach the children that God loves them, you’re fine.” At that moment, I knew I was home. In this church I could be both Orthodox and Episcopalian. I didn’t feel I had to reject my past in order to embrace my future. I became an Episcopalian the day I realized that I owned that decision. No one else decided whether I belonged here. I decided that I belonged here. Invitation means “No Judgment” to me. When our celebrant says, “All are welcome at the table,” I feel that I am at home in a loving and welcoming place.
The theology of Christ Church has led to discovering a loving God who makes me feel cherished. It’s helped me add meaning to my life and encouraged me to live with God on a daily basis. I have found roots in its glorious tradition and grown beyond my wildest expectations. In short, I have been transformed in too many ways to count. What have been the elements of this transformation? Music, children, outreach, teaching, church school, pastoral ministries, clergy, fellow parishioners, and learning the Bible – to name just a few!
Yes, this place made me feel safe so that I could open my heart to God. Christ Church planted seeds in the fertile soil of my heart, watered the roots to grow, and helped my branches spread wide as I reach for the Son.