“That year was an amazing time of spiritual growth for me.”
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Grace Avenue several years ago through one of the Children’s Summer camps. My son’s friend was not able to go to a camp he was registered for, so their family “gifted” it to my son. At drop off and at pick up each day, I saw how well run the children’s camp was and how loving and welcoming everyone at the church was. It was a very warm and friendly place. And most of all, it felt comfortable; which was surprising to me since church had not been a part of my past, nor my present. Growing up, my family would only go to the local Methodist church at Christmas and Easter, and most likely, when our grandmother was in town; but we were never members nor regular attendees. With my minimal church experience, it was very nice to feel welcomed and at ease inside a church that week at Science Camp. The following Sunday, my husband, our two children, and I came to worship at Grace Avenue for the first time and we’ve been coming ever since!
In one of our first few weeks of worship, I saw a notice for an in-depth Bible study that was about to begin. I wanted to know more about God and Scripture for myself. I was VERY interested, yet nervous as to how someone with my limited background would be received. But that fall, I showed up to class not knowing a single person and carrying my late grandmother’s King James Version Bible and began my first ever Bible study. In that first Disciple class in the fall of 2011, I felt VERY welcomed and encouraged by my fellow students (who also recommended I go ahead get myself a good study Bible, which is now in rough shape because of the use it’s seen).
About halfway through the 9-month long Disciple class, our family decided to make Grace Avenue officially our church home; my first ever since I did not grow up with religion as a major part of my life. A couple of months later, I was presented with the opportunity to be baptized into the faith with other adults of the congregation and I proudly accepted. On the eve of Easter in 2012, as a 36-year old with my loving and supportive family present, I owned my faith for myself and was baptized in my church home by Billy Echols-Richter.
That year was an amazing time of spiritual growth for me. I LOVED reading and studying scripture and enjoyed the relationships I formed with fellow Disciple students, fellow weekly worshippers of Grace Avenue, and my relationship with God through Jesus was expanding, each and every day. It was an amazing start to my late-in-life spiritual journey!
I am very thankful to the many people that came before me and paved the way to allow Grace Avenue to be a presence in the community; when individuals are ready to be on their own spiritual journey, no matter where they are on that path. The warm and welcoming congregation made me feel comfortable with my minimal religious background and there have been many other great individuals that have nurtured me along the way. As a church member, and now part-time staff, I find it an honor and a privilege to try to offer that to others; the same atmosphere and opportunity that welcomed my family and myself so lovingly and so fully.