- Parish House
Transition can be stressful
Transition can result in a feeling of loss and grief
Transition can be challenging
Transition can result in new opportunities for growth
Three and ½ years ago we went through a transition when we moved to Little Rock after retiring from our careers in Jonesboro Arkansas. We had lived our entire married life in that community, raised our daughters there, and built our reputations and our social life in that corner of the state.
I made the mistake of marrying a cradle Episcopalian in 1975 and after failed attempts to make Mike a Presbyterian, I was confirmed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jonesboro in 1979. That was NOT as mistake. I quickly grew to love the liturgy, the music and even more, the friendships and fellowship that came from work with Children’s choir, vacation bible school, a variety of fundraiser’s, the vestry and endless potlucks.
When we came to Little Rock, we both knew that finding a church home was important. Do you know that you have 5 Episcopal Churches in Little Rock and at least one in North Little Rock? We had never had choice before. We visited Christ the first summer we were here and then, frankly, kept visiting other churches. I guess we were looking for the immediate feeling of home that we had at St. Mark’s. We have come to realize that it is easy to compare and to resist involvement.
Debra just happened to take a job at Arkansas Children working with Holly Pettit. Holly invited us back and introduced us to several people. Cathy Howser recognized us from her days in Jonesboro many years ago and was a welcoming soul. We got a call from Scott Walters and we went out for coffee. Debra asked about how to begin the process of transferring membership. When she asked the same question of Carol Lou Flowers about two weeks later…Carol Lou said “oh yeah, that has been taken care of…you belong to us now.”
So we belong here. As older adults it is a bit harder to find a niche. Maybe that is because retirement, a new home in a new city make it difficult to find just where we fit. My niche, is the choir – thanks to Steve Bullock and Thomas Alexander who never asked for me to try out…Steve just said “welcome”.
There are so many niche’s here. This place is an inclusive place, that is important to us. There is beautiful worship, slam dunk preaching, educational offerings and ministries born from a concern for every human and ecologic condition.
As a southern woman, I will confess, that I look for friendships among members of my church family. So I enjoy working beside and singing beside people. This is how I really get to know people. Other people have other ways in which they relate to this place. We need to make sure that Christ is overtly welcoming to those who are looking for a community of believers. This is a place where we are called to reach out to new people and offer them a job…uh, a niche.
Several years ago I sat on the state committee that selected our current Bishop. I have not forgotten the words of an applicant for the position who was arguing for active communal worship as critical to a believer. The applicant said “ Sure the mountains are beautiful and you do feel like you are in the presence of God when you are in the mountains on a Sunday morning…but when you are sick, when you are lonely, when you are grieving it will not be the mountain who comes to your door with a casserole.”
Debra and I believe in stewardship of time, talent and resource. We feel that it is important to commit to the financial operation of Christ church. We have both served on vestries in the past and as senior wardens and we know that it is critical to be able to predict the support for the ministries in a parish. We encourage you to do so too…and also to come to church when you are in town!
Christ Church is a beautiful lady. She has gone through a significant and successful transition over the past two years. We feel like she has accepted the challenge the future offers and is destined to continue to grow. I guess she just needs our help.