Recently, after more than 30 years of absence, I found my way back to attending church service. My religious experiences as a child were less than welcoming. The truth is, they were out right demeaning and oppressive. If God is Love, (and I trust He is) He was not present in the religious experiences of my early years, although I always felt His loving presence and guidance personally. When I was free to do so, I walked away from the church and decided to continue my spiritual growth on my own terms and abilities. I remained comfortable and confident with my path for a very long time. But as fate would have it several years ago I met a new friend, the Rev. Dr. Sue Coller. Sue gently challenged some of my views and invited me to experience a different, and in her eyes, better way. A way that she said would expand on my growth and understanding, and my ability to live my convictions more fully. Of course she felt this way, I thought, she’s a minister! After many long and engrossing conversations, and many new insights I agreed to go to church with her.
On Christmas Eve I found myself, with my friend, attending a worship service at Hope Presbyterian Church in Spicer, Lincoln, NE. The service was not of the same denomination as my upbringing. It was drastically different from what I knew and what I expected, and it was wonderful! There was joy! Yes, real joy, in the fellowship and in the pastor leading the worship service. The Rev. Dr. Candace Adams was filled with an over flowing joy that would not be contained. What struck me so profoundly was how much her sincere expression exuded an abundance of joy and connection, conviction to her beliefs and her strong desire to share this with all present. Her joy filled spirit radiated, and I am sure, touched each and every soul present. I was deeply affected by the reverend’s expression of her faith and immediately knew that I had found something very different from my earlier experiences with organized religion. I realized then that I had found a new and better path that will lead me to the deeper spiritual growth that I am seeking.
For all of us who are seeking, may we not give up until we find the right path, the one that leads us to the joy that is promised to us, to have and to share with others.
You can learn more about Hope Presbyterian Church by visiting their web site at http://hopechurchspicer.org