“…because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. “– Romans 10:9
As many of you know, I am a convert to Christianity, and I converted in high school through the Episcopal Church in Almaden (ECA). my local Episcopal church in San Jose, California. My path to salvation was windier than a mountain road, and one of the things that made things hard regarding the act of joining a church was that I thought I would be criticized for my non-Christian parents and how I had not managed to convert them. My friend Kyle finally told me to come to church with him, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the people at the ECA were much more concerned with loving me because I was “Jen” than they were with my ability to “win” my parents’ souls. My knowledge of the liturgy by heart comes from Winnie, the soprano I stood next to in the choir, and Fr. Nolan made sure I knew I could ask him *ANY* question. If he didn’t know the answer, he would find it for me. The church shared a building, Sunday school, and a music director with a UCC congregation, so I learned to play nicely with others through their example. By the time I left for college 18 months later, I could “confess with [my] lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in [my] heart that God raised him from the dead” because of their love and their example.
The relationship that the adults at ECA forged with me served as an example for when I became a pastor’s wife. Jon (my former husband) and I *ALWAYS* made an effort to foster good relations with our church kids, and that meant that I got to be a part of them figuring out what they believed and how that fit into the grand scheme of things. One of the most powerful moments for me was sitting with one of my more “inquisitive” Confirmation kids on Good Friday when everything “became real” for her. Many of my church kids are now very involved in their parishes as adults, and I am incredibly thankful to have been part of the process of forming their faiths.
Gracious God, thank you for those who help us along the way in forming our faith. Amen.