Somewhere in the depths of my computer storage I have a picture of my daughter at 5 or 6 years old walking by herself down our street and away from our house. We live in a rural area so the road is wooded on both sides, her back is to the camera, and the sunlight is streaming over her blond curls as she trudges along with such a sense of purpose. It is a beautiful, peaceful looking picture, but because the picture is of her back, you can’t tell that at the time she had tears streaming down her face and was crying out in frustration as she walked.
Moments before, we had attempted to go to church but my car battery was dead. Her little heart broke with disappointment and she immediately declared she was going to walk to church – by herself from near Ashland and right down Interstate 95. I clearly wasn’t on board with her plan so I followed quietly at a distance while I let her work through her emotions. I remember smiling as I walked though. At her age, if I had been told we weren’t going to church I would have jumped with joy. Seeing her tears was a great reminder that we had joined the right church.
When I think of GPPC, I think of the story of the child throwing starfish back into the sea as he walked along the beach. When asked why he bothered when there were so many on the beach and he couldn’t save them all, the child looked at the one in his hand as he got ready to throw it and said “it matters to this one.” When I think of my pledge to GPPC, I think about the amazing work our small but mighty church does that directly changes lives. While there is always more we want to do, there are so many ways I get to see first hand how the people and buildings of GPPC are making a real difference.
I have seen people having a moment of peace on a Sunday morning when the rest of their week may be full of suffering. Just make it to Sunday morning at GPPC and it will be better.
I heard leaders from Narcotics Anonymous share how their weekly meetings at GPPC can be the one thing members focus on to get through the week without using. Just make it to GPPC on Friday and it will be better.
I know this church matters when I see the kids after choir practice sitting and chatting with someone from the adult home that wandered in or when another parent makes me cry from laughing so hard after I shared an epic parenting fail that was weighing me down. Make it to Wednesday supper church at GPPC and it will be better.
When I told my daughter about writing this, she said “People should really come to this church because it’s the best place to be. They give to others. They give poor children clothes. It makes me happy to go there.” This church being here – and your generous pledge support – is making her life and the lives of so many other starfish better, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Katie Templeton lives in rural Hanover with her husband and two young children. She recently began work at Heritage Christian Academy in their preschool, helping teach three different classes of 3 year olds. She joined our Session this fall and has been a regular in the Wednesday evening supper gathering for several years.