Two weeks ago, I stood before my faith community and agreed that I would faithfully participate in Trinity United Methodist Church’s ministries by offering my prayers, my presence, my gifts and my service. It was a big moment in my life. A milestone. This is the first church I have ever joined.
I grew up in a wonderful church. The same church my dad grew up in. The members of that church were as much my family as were my aunts and uncles. They supported me through my journey of faith – even as it has led me to stand on different theological grounds than they do. And I know that whatever my path, there is a faith family in Florida who is supporting me with their prayers.
When I left for college, I started searching for a church that I felt at home at – a place where I felt fulfilled spiritually, challenged intellectually, and where I felt wanted. Four years in Alabama, four years in Kentucky, and summers in Tennessee, North Carolina and New York – always searching. There was a community in Hong Kong that was a great worshiping community – but it was a mostly a Sunday-only community.
When I moved to Seattle, I had pretty much given up my search. My work schedule made Sundays my Saturdays. I did the obligatory church-shopping, but nothing stuck. And for a year, there was nothing. And it wasn’t like my life was awful without a church to go to each week. My soul didn’t wither up. My heart didn’t turn black. My spirituality didn’t die. My prayers didn’t become void. But still, I knew how fulfilling it could be to be a part of a faith community.
When I happened upon Trinity, I was still hesitant. But the more I went, the more I got involved, the more I fell in love. With the theology, with the social action, with the singing, with the people. One day I was sitting in the pew, reading in unison the offertory prayer, “We pledge O God, to be part of the discovery of how much would be enough for everyone – not only to survive, but the thrive – and to find ways for all to access to that. May this offering of restraint and justice teach us to live like Jesus.” Saying those words, I realized that everyone saying them along with me, meant it. The actions of the church, the work of the members – lived those words out. And that was the kind of community I wanted to be a part of.
So, two weeks ago, I made a huge step in my faith journey. For the first time in my life, I was a member of a church that my parents didn’t belong to. I became a member of a church where I feel welcomed, challenged, fulfilled, blessed. It feels good to be home.