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Posts Tagged ‘Sojourners’

I’ve only been a member at three churches in my life. I was a part of several more as a little kid, but there are three church families I’ve been truly involved in and cherish: First Baptist Church Midland, where I grew up; St Aldates Church, Oxford, my home across the pond; and the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, where I’ve been since 2004, give or take a few summers/semesters away.

You can see from my list above that denomination doesn’t matter too much to me. I’m not interested in arguing theology, though I am interested in thinking and talking about how to be God’s person in the world. I enjoy several different worship styles; there are things I love about traditional/contemporary/praise band/a cappella music. But the big thing for me is community. I need my church to feel like my family. And for the last six years, I’ve had family at Highland. And I love them so much.

I came to Highland as a university student, lonely and looking for a place to plug in. I started going on Wednesday nights, then for a few Sundays right before I left for Oxford. After I came back, and after my friend Cheryl died in a car crash, I spent many Wednesday nights sitting at Highland and crying while the praise team sang. I eventually found a home in the quirky, thoughtful, loving Sojourners class, taught by one of my favorite professors and several others who’ve become my friends. And in 2005, after a year of gentle prodding by my friend Lorin, I joined a Sunday night small group, and they’ve been my family ever since.

Highland is where I learned to sing a cappella harmony – which is different than harmony with instruments. It’s where I’ve spent countless Sundays and Wednesdays singing on the praise team, frequently with Jeremiah by my side. It’s where we grew into our relationship, made friends, attended a few weddings (and our own rehearsal dinner), listened to dozens of sermons by the inimitable Mike Cope and many other brilliant friends. It’s where we’ve asked questions in Sojourners, received too many hugs to count, shivered when the a/c kicked up too high (nearly every week), watched Jack and Jill Maxwell paint their way through a sermon, listened to Val sing “Arise, My Love” every Easter Sunday, heard so many people share their communion stories. It’s where we’ve come to worship God, and to ask again how we can be His people in our jobs, at school, with each other, with our families and friends.

We’re heading toward a new church in Boston; I don’t know which one it is yet. But I “know in my knower,” as my friend Simon likes to say, that we’ll always have family at Highland. There will always be a place for us to hug Calvin and smile at Frankie and watch Julie lift her hand and listen to Jay clap like crazy (with no rhythm, but lots of joy). There will always be a place for us in Sojourners, where Kathy and Mike make the coffee and Bill makes jokes and someone always says, “We’re having coffee.” There will always be a place for us with our Lifeteam, where we laugh and talk and pray and share communion and tell stories and love on each other. And wherever we go, our Highland family, there will always be a place for all of you.

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