Carol and I first came to All Saints when our daughter Sydney was a baby and wanted her baptized into the church in 2003. I grew up Episcopalian and my mother attended All Saints, so it seemed a logical fit. We had not been regular church-goers for some time and weren’t necessarily looking to become active. We were told by Father Mathews that Baptism was not a one-time event, but a commitment to raise Sydney in the church, become engaged and encourage her spiritual development. We accepted that commitment, but without particular expectations for ourselves beyond trying to be good parents.
The power and love of the All Saints community quickly hit home at the end of 2005 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and began a year-long journey of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. The All Saints family provided comfort and support to me and my family in our darkest times. This time also opened my mind and heart to the fact that sometimes you find what you need, even when it wasn’t what you were originally looking for. It was at this time that I began to attend All Saints because it provided me communion with a loving extended family and a pathway to peace, strength and comfort in a relationship with God. I am happy to report that it has been over 11 years and my cancer is gone and has not returned and I am stronger and healthier than ever before.
Since that time, Carol, Sydney and I have been active at All Saints and its various ministries, including teaching Sunday school for kids, being acolytes, serving on Vestry and helping with Backpack ministries. This has provided us with opportunities to give back to All Saints itself to help grow and share with others the friendships and support that we have received. It also allows us to reach beyond the walls of our church to help others in the community.
So in a somewhat unexpected conclusion, what I intended to get from All Saints when I first arrived is not what it means to me today. And I expect it will mean something different tomorrow. Perhaps my original flaw was in thinking of All Saints as a place or a destination unto itself. Instead, All Saints would better be described as a vehicle for a life-long journey with a group of friends and family that will share my path.
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