My Why Statement covers 2 aspects - why the Episcopal Church, and why St. David’s in particular, though the St. David’s part actually came first. I was raised as Roman Catholic, but after some intense soul-searching, a deeply personal revelation made me leave that church more than 50 years ago. If I were a celebrity, I probably would have been excommunicated anyway. My faith in God never dwindled, but how I worshiped changed to a more solitary or small group kind. Since about 5 or 6 years ago though, I could feel God trying to draw me back into the church. I just wasn’t sure to which one exactly. That pull got even stronger during my husband’s illness and after his death.
After my husband died, a friend, Jim Shields, invited me to come to a service here. Unfortunately it was right around the time of what would have been my 45th wedding anniversary and the whole visit turned out to be a disaster, with me leaving the service early, walking the labyrinth in the rain, and crying most of the way home. Thanks to Jim though, I was back here within a month to talk with Father Harvey about my grief.
I was impressed by the fact that here was a priest willing to talk to me - me, not a member of his congregation, and so why would he care? But care he did! Our talk turned out to be one of the most important and productive conversations I have ever had in my life. We were talking about my soul here, after all.
After talking with Father Harvey, I started attending services at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Greenfield, about 8 miles from my house, but felt something was missing. I kept feeling drawn back to St. David’s - 35 miles away - and started coming here more and more. The next thing I knew, I had become a permanent fixture. I thank you all for that. Never in my life have I seen a group of people living out their faith like you do. You are all so supportive and loving. So the St. David’s part of my life is a direct consequence of all the good that I have experienced within these walls.
Now, why the Episcopal Church and not some other one? I think what sealed the deal to explore the Episcopal religion was the first time I received holy communion at St. David’s. I had such a good feeling permeate the whole of my being that I was sure this was where I belonged. But those of you who know me well know that I do not take my faith lightly and I still had questions. Participating in Bible study, the healing services, and contemplative prayer helped answer some of those. What ultimately helped me become an Episcopalian though was attending the Episcopal Way sessions and the continuous spiritual guidance from Father Harvey. I was able to ask the hard questions and have discussions with him without being considered a heretic. And during one of our last classes when he discussed the similarities and differences among the various Christian religions, I knew this was indeed the right place for me.
So, grief brought me here. Kindness - yours - kept me here to investigate and meditate. And study, coupled with spiritual guidance, solidified my decision to become an Episcopalian. I thank God for the entirety of the path that led me to this place in my life. Thank you, Lord, for you hear our prayers!