I found St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in late July of 2012 when Leanne and I moved to the Columbus area from Dallas, Texas. At that time, Leanne was only about 8 weeks away from giving birth to Turner. I began my search for a new church home immediately and St. Augustine’s was the third Anglican Church I attended in the Columbus area and I found it online.
As I drove to Hondros College on that Sunday morning in late July, I reflected on what an Anglican Church service might look like when held in a classroom and questioned the wisdom of driving all that way from Reynoldsburg to Westerville each Sunday.
The experience of a church service at Christ Church Anglican in Plano, Texas, where I had attended, and St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Westerville, Ohio was enormously different. Yet, I had prayed fervently for God’s leading to a new church home and I learned that Sunday morning that when I pray for God’s guidance and then follow the Good Shepherd, He will lead me beside the still water and comfort my soul. St. Augustine’s has been just that, a comfort for my soul through some of my life’s greatest challenges.
In early September I began attending Bible Study at the Maney’s home and it was on Monday evening, September 24th that I returned home from our study about 10:00PM and within a ½ hour, Leanne and I were preparing to leave for Riverside Hospital and Turner’s birth the next afternoon. Fr. Kevin was Turner’s first and only visitor at Riverside Hospital and he came to bless Turner and Leanne and offer us Communion. Life had become overwhelming for me – moving from a home my husband and I built and shared prior to his death in late 2008 – moving 1,100 miles to a city I did not know – my daughter on Medicaid and a single, new Mom – my work prospects uncertain, yet needing to work to support Leanne and Turner – all of this at the tender age of 68.
In the midst of all this turmoil, I was led to St. Augustine’s and Fr. Kevin became a pastor, counselor and dear friend. Within a short time, I became a part of this wonderful church family and so did Leanne.
Fr. Kevin baptized my grandson, Turner, on December 30, 2012 (my husband Fred’s birthday) and Bob and Beth Buehler became dear friends and Turner’s Godparents.
The subsequent 4 years at St. Augustine’s have been filled with amazing Christian love and fellowship. There is a song with a refrain that goes “you will know they are Christians by their love, by their love” and that is how I believe God sees and knows the St. Augustine’s church family, by their love for one another and their community.
My brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Augustine’s have assisted me with moving, accompanied Leanne to supervise Turner’s dad when he visited with his son, cared for Turner, taken me to the hospital for surgery and then taken me home afterwards, and late at night, because Leanne was home with a sick child and could not be there with me. Taken me for doctor’s visits when I could not drive and picked me up for church. They have included me in some great parties and dinners, arranged a date and been confidants, friends and counselors. They have been my social and spiritual life for 4 years and I could not have walked through some seemingly dark valleys without their comfort.
I believe God knew on that Sunday morning in early August 2012 that Leanne, Turner and I would need the intimacy of St. Augustine’s, the wisdom of Fr. Kevin, the fellowship of this newly planted church then meeting in Hondros College – a place “where everybody knows your name”.
The music and beautiful voices of Dondra and Val, Tanya and Ken and so many others became sweeter than large choirs and pipe organs. Little Turner began his church life sleeping in his stroller, or crying, during Fr. Kevin’s sermons and no one ever seemed to be concerned. When Turner began to crawl, then walk, he was up and down the rows of the classroom following Monroe as he passed the offering plate, taking a Communion wafer from Fr. Kevin and dipping it in the cup offered by Sarah, or visiting with our Governor. Turner looked forward to Godly Play with Maria and the “boys” – initially just Daniel, Nathanial, James and Nicholas. On Sunday when Turner spotted his Godparents, Beth and Bob, he would go and sit with them and they welcomed this squirmy little guy on their lap.
I have witnessed this little church congregation struggle through serious health and family issues and always reach out, support, love and pray for one another without ceasing. I love each of you and your warm smiles and love will remain with me always. No matter where I live, I will always feel that St. Augustine’s is my church and my church family.