Every Journey Begins Somewhere
It seems like too much of a truism to have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: every journey begins somewhere. There’s not a road trip, hike, or even a story, that didn’t begin somewhere, sometime. Despite this seeming as obvious as the eyes in your head, sometimes it’s more like looking at your nose. It’s there, but you don’t often look at it. By that I mean: too often we never begin a journey. Every journey begins somewhere, but not every journey begins.
Sometimes I wonder if there are people at Chapel Hill who feel like that, as if they’re wanting to go on a journey but don’t have a beginning yet. And yet, there are others who have begun their own journey of faith at Chapel Hill, and I am thrilled to learn their stories. One person that comes to mind for me is Colleen Simpson. The first time I remember meeting Colleen was in my office. Colleen had retired from nursing and moved to Port Orchard from Burien. She’d been attending a Presbyterian church there, so naturally she began looking for a Presbyterian church near her new home. Chapel Hill is the “big church,” so it wasn’t too hard to find us. Colleen ended up in my office as part of the membership process. These kinds of meetings are one of the favorite parts of my job, by the way. I love hearing people’s stories of faith. And I love seeing the potential for their part in this church community.
So there Colleen was in my office, telling me about herself. She made quite an impression on me. I praise God for her humility (she’s probably embarrassed that I’m writing this about her), for her heart for service and concern for justice, for her innate skills of leadership. All of that I saw in our conversation, and at the end of it I gave her some ideas of how she could get involved and use her gifts. But so often, it’s not what we know but who we know, and now I knew Colleen and she knew me.
Not long after my meeting with Colleen, I was talking with Pastor Megan about Women’s Ministry, and said to her, “You should meet Colleen .” Lo and behold, she took my advice and did. From there, Colleen was invited into a short term discipleship group for women. Then she was invited to train as a LifeGroup leader at one of our Multiply Weekends. Time went on and five years after she sat in my office, Colleen is serving as a Deacon and leads the Las Amigas ministry. From starting knowing virtually no one at Chapel Hill, Colleen has become connected into friendships and purpose here.
What I love about Colleen’s journey at Chapel Hill is its beginning. That simple, sincere conversation we had in my office led to Colleen being deeply rooted in the life of this church. Her journey began with relationship. I’ve been privileged to see Colleen’s story repeated in other lives dozens of times through our membership class. Each story is different, of course, because God gifts us with different personalities and skills. But, I’ve seen many journeys at Chapel Hill begin with the membership process.
The membership process is only one class, because we believe that gaining information is only part of what it means to begin your journey at Chapel Hill. After that class, every potential member is invited to set a time to meet with a pastor, to share their story in the context of relationship, just like I did with Colleen. Then at the end of the month they make their commitments to be a part of the church, and later that day celebrate with a big lunch with their new fellow members and the pastors. That process is how many begin their time at Chapel Hill.
I hope for the people that attend Chapel Hill that everyone can have a story like Colleen’s. Our next membership class is Sunday, January 28, at noon (following the 10:45 am modern worship service). Why don’t you consider registering for it? At worst, you’ve wasted two hours (but got a free lunch). At best, you’ve begun a journey.