I’m Kathy Brown…yes the same one that sends out all the annoying emails asking for food donations for this and volunteers for that. And I’m here again to put a little bug in your ear about financial support.
So...this is not my first ride in the Ministry Minute Rodeo. I came before the congregation in 2013 to talk about what it is I love about this quirky little church. It was about a year after my family came to Grace, and I was still in that fat, happy and stupid honeymoon period. “OMG…everything is so amazingly perfect here!”…ya know like that.
In prepping for this talk, I started thinking about whether I still feel the same way and/or what has changed for me. So, let’s dust off my 1st talk from 2013…
“What’s a good Catholic girl from CT, doing in a place like this?”
What’s a good Catholic girl from CT, doing in a place like this? How in the world did she wind up here? And why on earth does she love it so? This is NOT what the plan was to be.
Let’s go back to 1976, to a kitchen table in Darien CT. Dot and Frank, dyed-in-the-wool Catholics that have raised their 5 kids that way, sit discussing a request by their 14 year old daughter:
Frank: “I don’t know Dot, this just doesn’t sound right”
Dot: “Oh, Come on Frank, it’s just one little youth group meeting. Kathy’s friend Melanie asked her to go along.”
Frank: “I’m gettin’ a feeling about this. You said it’s gonna be at the Episcopal Church, right? I heard they let the priests get married, for God sake! And and and have KIDS! Does that sound right to you?”
Dot: “Now…Frank, it’s harmless…one meeting. It’s not like she’s going to start questioning whether the Catholic church is right for her, or marry some quasi-Episcopal guy she meets in college, or wait 12 years to have kids and then start taking them to Episcopal services, baptize the kids Episcopal, then decide to be received in the Episcopal church and then wind up finding an Episcopal church in some dinky little railroad town in a state 350 miles away, with a tank out front. What are the odds? LET’S NOT PANIC! I’m sure it’s just a phase…”
Ok, maybe that’s not EXACTLY how it went down, but it wasn’t a phase and here I am! Little did I know that attending a few youth group meetings way back then, would set off that chain of events that would land me here. A good Catholic girl at THE best Episcopal Church!
How did I wind up here? Well…I’ve asked myself that same question and it’s actually pretty simple: It’s the grace of God. I didn’t set out to come here, Grace led me here, and I am eternally grateful that Grace came lookin’ for me! Dave, the girls and I have been here at Grace for just a year, and it feels like home.
You see, I searched a long time, knowingly or not, for a place like Grace Church…where miracles and blessings happen every day:
- A place where, like the bar “Cheers”, everybody knows your name (I’m dating myself!)
- A place where everyone is welcome
- A place where it’s ok to come as you are
- A place where it’s ok to be wounded, or fragile or searching
- A place where you’re encouraged to ask questions and challenge things and bring a fresh perspective
- A place where my kids are so excited to come on Sunday mornings that they are up @ 7:00am so they can make it to Youth Group by 8:30. (That’s one of those miracles I am talking about!)
- A place where my husband attended church for a few months and decides to be confirmed. (Now, that’s a blessing!)
- A place where the “little choir that could” amazes us each Sunday
- A place where new ministries pop up because someone has an idea
- A place where our dynamic priest-in-charge wears so many hats, she has to duck to get in the door
- A place where all those that pass through the front doors (the tank is right out front!) are celebrated for the talents they don’t even know that they have.
- A place so full of grace, that it keeps drawing you back.
- Oh…and did I mention the food? If we can’t do anything else right on any given day, we can feed people!
So, those were my thoughts in 2013! While I’m still fat and happy, the honeymoon is definitely over. Time has marched on for Grace Church. New people have come, others have left, and some are getting ready to leave. We’ve faced joys and challenges. Members of my family drift in and out of the church. However, my commitment to Grace gets stronger every day and each year, I find new ways to grow in my faith and as a member of Grace.
Grace sponsored me to join the Cursillo movement…it’s awesome, ask me about it! We started “Eat, Pray, Talk” …like Sunday night therapy with food! Hospitality Ministry…again FOOD! The new women’s “Prayer and Self-Care” group…can’t wait to launch that next week! Don’t even get me started on the people who inspire me here! This church, this “family” is bigger than the sum of its parts.
And, I’ve found that the more I’m drawn to become more involved, my financial investment in this community has grown as well. While Dave and strive toward tithing (haven’t gotten there yet), our yearly contribution to the works of Grace has tripled since we started here in 2012. The more I give of my time, talent and treasure, the more connected I feel to the life here.
So, whether you’re born and bred here or you’re a newbie, think about where and how Grace Church fits into your life journey, what you get from this community and what you can give to support it.
Thank you and God bless you!