My relationship with God began in a small Southern Baptist Church in Gulfport, Mississippi. When I was growing up, Sundays consisted of church followed by a day of family time together. During that time, all stores and restaurants closed on Sundays. Weird, huh? But looking back, that’s where the importance of family was instilled in me. It was always a slow day of no work; just good quality time at home hanging out with family and extended family.
Years later, I married my husband who was brought up in the Methodist faith. We shared a lot of the same values and teachings even though our house was divided between our two denominations. During our kids early years, we attended the Baptist church.
With my youngest in school and too much time on my hands, I looked for a part-time job that would allow me to work around my family’s schedules. I found the perfect opportunity right here at CUMC where I began working in Youth Ministry. I think that was in 1992, but I quit counting long ago.
I remember being so impressed with the youth program here and all the volunteers that were (and still are) committed to its success. My family immediately felt at home, and my daughter became involved in youth group. I felt we were finally all on the same page as a family, so we became members, and as the years went by this community became our other family…our church family.
I was grateful our daughter, and the hundreds of other youth I’ve known over the years had the opportunity to build a strong faith foundation that guides them through the difficulties that lie ahead in life, steers them to make good choices, and allows them to feel God’s grace when they make mistakes.
As I reflected on my journey, I realize the impact CUMC has had on my life. It has challenged me to become a better Christian, made me more aware of the struggles of others, and more compassionate towards their needs. Our hopes are that our granddaughters will learn the importance of God and family through us, and be blessed with support and love of a community like the one we have found here.