That changed dramatically with a tragedy that struck friends of our family. I was deeply moved by the courage that was shown by this family in the face of incredible loss and asked my daughter where they got the strength to deal with an unimaginable tragedy and level of pain that I knew I could never come back from personally. My daughter informed me that they were getting a lot of support from the community within their church, and that was a large part of what was holding the family together.
At that point I realized there was something profoundly missing in my life, and began my journey seeking a spiritual home. I went to the Unitarian Congregation, and they were very nice people. I went to the Presbyterian Church, and they were very nice people. I went to a Non-Denominational Church, and they were very, very nice people. The only thing all these experiences had in common was that everywhere I went I found very nice people, but nowhere did I feel that I had found what I was looking for.
I was almost at the point of quitting what I had started to believe was a “fool’s errand” when my best friend said to me “you are an Episcopalian at heart, go look!” So I Googled Episcopal Churches in Brunswick Maryland and Grace Church popped up. I grabbed my cousin and in we came. I was greeted at the door by Susan Mann who was friendly and gracious. I looked around and thought what a beautiful church, and the processional began and the music was inspirational. I thought to myself “this is really going very well” until… The Priest stepped forward after the processional and announced to the congregation “You are not going to hear the sermon that I prepared this week. We have lost a member of our church family. A member of our confirmation class took her own life.” At this point I put my foot against the pew: I had read about this before, suicide, mortal sin, not going to heaven. I thought I could make a discreet exit, but then Mother Anjel Scarborough said “Make no mistake, she was sick. It was an illness that took her life like any other illness and she is with God.”
I did not know this young woman, but a wave of emotion flooded through me. People in the congregation started crying and holding each other. Anjel+ came out into the congregation and held and comforted people. It was at that point I realized I had come full circle. A community supporting itself in tragedy, but it was something more. I was the farthest thing in the world from a religious person, but I knew at that moment that I was witnessing God’s love wrapping itself around and through everyone in Grace Church that day. It was God’s love that held that family together in tragedy, I just wasn’t smart enough to see it. I had been looking for a support group, but what I found was God’s love at Grace Church.
A couple of weeks later I met with Anjel+ over coffee to discuss Grace becoming my spiritual home, and I stared the conversation with “You are going to think I’m crazy.” She stared for a minute, tilted her head and said “Nah, I’ve met crazy and you ain’t it!” THAT IS WHY I LOVE GRACE CHURCH!