Reflections and Stories

Why do I go to church?

Church has always been a central part of my life experience. Maybe it’s because I grew up four doors away from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Forest Hills, Queens and all my friends were there on Sundays. Maybe it was because the rector was a neighbor we saw all the time, so we had to have a pretty good excuse not to go. When I became a teenager, the reasons changed. In the midst of normal, confusing, emotionally chaotic adolescence, I found a refuge, a sanctuary, a place of peace and acceptance where I could begin to form an identity which didn’t rely solely on other people’s rules or judgments or expectations - a place where I could begin a spiritual journey to last a lifetime. In Church it was OK to seek answers to deeper questions and be filled with wonder when those answers came back in the form of scripture or hymns or in the sense of community church provided.

It was sacred space, a place you could “live into the mystery and know that you were not alone.”

Why All Saints’?

All Saints’ was our first church when Betsey and I moved to Briarcliff in 1970. Our daughter Anne was four months old. The All Saints’ congregation was filled with young, caring, energetic families like ours. They were, and still are, a fantastic group of people. Since then, all three of our daughters have been married at All Saints’ and our grandchildren have been baptized here. In the late 1970’s we, like a lot of families, left and joined other churches, but we found our way back and we’re here to stay.

All Saints’ is our spiritual home. We have deep ties to its past and a deep commitment to its future.

 

We love and need this place.

Why is it important to support All Saints’ financially?

My answer is simple: “All things come of thee, O Lord and of thine own have we given thee.” Where would I be without church? Where else could I give thanks for all the blessings my family and I have received? Where else could I participate in liturgy and music and conversation which bring me closer to God and Christ?

Where else could I hear sermons that guide me on my spiritual journey and help me stay strong in the

 

face

 

of life’s challenges?

Church gives me joy and reassurance; it makes my life better and it makes me a better person for others. Sending in my annual pledge and writing a check to All Saints’ each week is the very least I can do to support this wonderful place which has given so much to me and my family.

-Jim Relyea