A Sunday Covenant…

Josh, Lynne and Sam at GTT

Yesterday was a special day for our family.  Having been raised in the church, sometimes there are things you become jaded on over time, one of them being membership.  After years of observing memberships in churches and being a member we had come to believe that either it was a way used to control and pressure you into giving, a way to set apart the undesirables and take in only the 'worthy' ones or simply a number goal to achieve so the district will be happy.  Nothing about membership enticed my husband and me and in fact, we'd normal run screaming from the very mention of joining a church.

So, how is it on this Sunday Morning Service at Glad Tidings in New York City we found ourselves holding a Covenant card and making solemn promises to this body of believers?  After having gone through so many churches in our life, it was hard to believe there was a church we would fit in somewhere out there...I was raised conservative Pentecostal and my husband was raised Jehovah Witness, then when we married, we went ultra conservative.  For a time, we looked more at home in Lancaster country where we attended church than we did in Jersey where we lived.  If you need proof of that one, grab Josh or I and ask to see our driver's license sometime for proof.  Of course, you need to that before the end of year when we get them renewed, thankfully.  We get an odd eye or two when people see them still.  Our passports are no better and we have five years to renew those!  So, after so much effort trying to find a place of peace, we had come to believe it would never happen.

GTT Kids and Tad
We home churched at times and when I was so ill I couldn't get out of bed we just did whatever we could to maintain some sort of spiritual life without imploding.  Our family needed something special.  We had all been through so much in life and were emotionally and spiritually raw.  Who knew our move to the city to reduces Josh's 4 hour a day commute and to bring me closer to my doctors was going to bring us to a place of spiritual rest for the first time in our married life.

Shortly after getting settled into the apartment, our search was on for a church.  One of the requirements was I didn't want to have to drive anywhere.  Being lifted in and out of the car is painful and I prefer to avoid that if I can.  I am grateful for a strong husband would can move me so easily but no matter what, it hurts so we started looking for churches we could reach by the subway in the city.  Our first try was a church around Columbus Circle.  Wow, was that a mess.  We were caught underground for four hours trying to find our way around with elevators that didn't work.  We never thought we were going to be back up to the surface but finally did and located the church, which was long over by the time we arrived.  Exhausted and in need of boost, we stopped at Groms, a wonderful organic Gelato shop we found.  As we were discussing our rather trying day as they were preparing our order, one of the young men, Marcas, invited us to his church, Glad Tidings!  We smiled and said thank you and went about finding our way back home.
Sam at GTT with Tad

Once home Josh decided to look up the church Marcas mentioned just to see what it was and where it was located.  As it would be, it was basically about 10 minutes from our house.  We have a 2 block walk to Exchange, a short PATH ride to World Trade and then a two block walk to church.  Couldn't be easier.  And, to add to the miracle, it was an Assembly of God which is what the majority of my family has been for years.  In fact, Park Lane Assembly was started in the living room of my grandparents home in Wichita Kansas in the late 40s.  We couldn't believe it.  So, the next Sunday, we gathered our courage and made the short trip to the church.

It didn't take long to realize this wasn't a normal church.  There was something very different about Glad Tidings.  There was something special about it's people and the pastors.  There was such sweet spirit and such joy on everyone's faces.  There was just a unique spirit about this place and like I've said, we've been in a church or two in our lives.  It was even different from any Assembly I've ever attended.  There was such a spirit of love and acceptance but with a solid Biblical foundation.  It was a place where anyone could walk through the doors and feel completely at home.

Josh and Taddington at GTT
As we started attending the church began to know us as the Lime Green family because when we met Marcus on our long trek on the subway, we were all in bright Lime Green.  That was my idea, much to my family's chagrin, and much to my own education, you don't want to stand out so much while in the NYC subway system.  It didn't take long for Glad Tidings to become our home.  

Samuel giving his Passion Project
After dealing with the illness for four years basically alone, we were in such need of prayer support.  We had attended churches during that time but found so many of those old attitudes….'if you are sick, there is something wrong in your life.'  Even if they don't come out and say it, if you aren't healed within a what they consider a 'reasonable' amount of time, they begin to look at you as the problem.  It was difficult to handle and you began to dread going to church.  Other places just didn't quite fit our family.  We tend to march to the beat of our drum and are not generally conformist and sometimes, that doesn't work so well in conservative churches.

Then we found a place where we can be who God wants us to be to fulfill our calling in Him, without apology and still fit in with the church.  They encourage individuality and being ones own person while still coming together to support each other as a family and then reaching out with everything you have into your community for the glory of God.  It is what we dreamed of in a church but never believe existed.  And, suddenly, we found it!  We found it at the lowest valley we had ever endured.

Victoria and Ben at GT
So, on Sunday, March 27, 2011, we became members of Glad Tidings.  I have seen churches take in members before and it was generally quick and cold but not that day.  As we stood there, the elders spoke a covenant to us as they promised to support our family as the Bible instructs the church and then Josh and I said a covenant back promising to serve as the Bible instructs us to serve the church, the community and God.  I found I was in tears as we spoke these words.  They really meant something to us.  After a long hard road on our own and trying to find a place of peace, God brought us to a place of not only spiritual healing but also service.  I don't believe any of us can grow in the Lord or rest in Him without service to others.  It is a place for our children to grow deeper in their faith without being bullied into a throught process.  We found a true home.

We left that day with smiles on our faces and a contentment in heart.  When you are in the place God wants you, no matter the circumstances of life around you, you find a smile creeps on your face from the joy of being in God's perfect will for your life.

May God Bless You and Keep You in His Grace,