One afternoon as I sat drinking tea with my monthly tea club, a friend of mine said to me, “Monique, I have sensed a loss of something in your eyes. I know you have left the Catholic Church because they are not accepting of all people. Have you considered looking into the Episcopal Church?” I have to say that was the first time I ever remembered hearing about the Episcopal Church, so of course I was intrigued. After doing a “Google search” online and reading about how welcoming the faith was to everyone, no matter one’s sexual orientation, I felt I needed to at least visit one time.
From the moment I drove onto the property and saw the sign that said, “Everyone Is Welcome”, I just knew there was going to be something special here. I remember walking into the Big Church and having people welcome me left and right. I recall the service being so similar to the Catholic faith I was raised in. And then there was the “passing of the peace”. Whoa, these people are so friendly! The warmth that filled my heart was immense. And I just felt like I was about to embark on a beautiful journey.
Since the summer of 2011, I have since been received into the Episcopal faith, volunteered to help with Sunday school every month, volunteered to help with Vacation Bible School, joined the Vestry, and more recently accepted the position of Senior Warden. My roots here are growing deeper, but I have to say that my Faith and connection to God have grown the most than in my entire life.
Every Sunday I choose St. James’ and the Episcopal faith because it accepts me as I am. I feel whole here. I no longer have the feeling of loss in my heart or in my eyes as I once did. Just the other day I met with my tea club on a Saturday afternoon as I have done for over 13 years. This time, from across the table a friend asked me, “Monique, can you tell me more about your church, St. James’?” My response? “Pour yourself a cup of tea, I have a wonderful place to tell you about.”