I belong to a community. Webster has a variety of examples, one being “A group of people living together as a smaller social unit within a larger one, having interests in common.” In old French it can mean ‘public spirit’ or sharing a sense of place. The Praise and Worship Center has been the first place where I have been part of a whole, one of many searching to strengthen our faith, care about each other and improve our community with whatever talents God gave us.

I came to Praise and Worship more than ten years ago. I was a mess! My husband had died a year before and I had been crying, drinking prosecco, and playing computer games for most of that year. He was the first human being that I felt loved me, good bad and everything in between. I had never felt this before. I was 37 when we got married, and close relationships were a disaster for me. I didn’t know how to handle closeness, so the poor men that would try to get emotionally close to me, quickly found themselves on the other side of my door. But in my marriage, I was so loved, I thought I was someone special, really special. And that’s how I arrived at Father Dale’s church, horribly sad, confused and knowing I was very special.

Part of the gift of community at PWC was meeting a new husband, a kind, funny and faithful man. He encourages me to grow in my faith, which is a gift I only dreamed about. I don’t feel special, I feel loved and supported. With the help of Carol Taylor, not only have I learned how to read the bible, but she was instrumental in helping me heal from a traumatic childhood. Many had tried, but together, we succeeded. With the help of Cheryl Armstrong, I have learned to interpret the Bible and how to accept those who believe in different ways, and to be open to what they have to say.

I have been guided to volunteer work for a mental health company giving talks to seniors, which utilizes one of my God given skills, and it’s very rewarding. I have pursued my creative gifts with drawing classes and leading the Décor committee. I care about my many friends. I am confident in my belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. After all these years of patience, understanding and compassion given to me by Pastor Mark, Father Dale and a hundred other people in the PWC Community, I have been profoundly changed. I believe I have found the person God always wanted me to be. And I like her.

Thank you to everyone in our community.