As I walked over the hill on my first visit to King’s Chapel I wondered what I would find in the Old Stone Church that looked somewhat austere and forbidding. I passed through those heavy doors for the first time, you know the ones you walked through today; I was greeted by the ushers and guided to a red-cushioned pew, where I readjusted myself and the footstools several times to find the least uncomfortable position to
settle into for the service.
I don’t remember what I was expecting, but I knew what I was seeking. After years of being away from any kind of formal church, and having been through a difficult divorce and career change, I had stepped into a Christian fellowship that gathered in my town. With this small group that read the Bible, prayed and sang songs of praise I had had a profound and undeniable experience of the love of God, of Jesus’ love for me, an awakening in my heart and mind, and my spirit was ignited. I needed to find a place where I could nurture and grow my infant Christian faith. I had a voracious appetite to know more about Jesus and his Jewish roots, to understand the world he lived in and his impact on the world of his time. I wanted to really grasp what he meant in the perplexing parables, to learn about his ministry, and I wanted this relationship to shape me. I was determined to find a place where the spiritual fire I felt would not be extinguished by dogma, empty ritual, literal interpretations of the bible, or too much superficial hoopla.
As I sat in my pew at King’s Chapel that Sunday my senses were alert to everything. Early on I felt a twinge of emotion, and as I listened to the music of the organ and choir, sang each hymn, heard the soulful prayers and read from the prayer book, a faint rumbling in my chest rose into my throat. Tears rolled from my eyes, and I silently wept through most of the service. Such a powerful mix of emotions seemed to wash through me, cleansing, comforting, assuring, and quenching a thirst I didn’t know I had, while at the same time warming my heart.
Carl Scovel preached about Christian Healing that Sunday and invited us to join him for a class he was offering, which I did....and so began my journey with King’s Chapel.
I’m still here...27 Easters later, I found a place that I could call my home church and what followed was my involvement in all sorts of activities - services, committees, classes, retreats, hikes, Habitat for Humanity trips, and so much more.
One particularly meaningful activity for me was a prayer group that was offered as a follow-up to the Spiritual Autobiography course and we met every other week at the Parish House. The format was simple - check in, read the scripture for the day, and lift each other in prayer. We also prayed for those on a list given to us by the minister, usually names of people we didn’t know. Among those was a baby, born three months prematurely, 2 lbs., in intensive care and on critical life support. Zachary was in our prayers for many weeks. One Sunday at the end of the service I reached across the pew to welcome a woman who I had not seen at church before. When I asked Betsy Peterson what brought her to King’s Chapel today, she told me she was here today to thank God that her grandson Zachary was home from the hospital. And....you can imagine my joy – “We’ve been praying for Zachary!” . . . Betsy mentioned the past week that a very hearty Zachary just celebrated his 19th birthday.
Another answer to prayer, happened when my best friend and beloved, Dick Perkins, and I were married during the Sunday Service of Morning Prayer 10 years ago. Although it was quite common for baptisms to take place during the service, we were the first, as far as anyone knows to have a marriage ceremony. We stepped into the chancel, read our vows and were blessed by many of you who were here, along with two hundred or so of our best friends and family who were visiting this historic church for the first time. Since our minister, Earl Holt, had to catch a plane, Dick and I greeted everyone in the vestibule - the congregation, including Joe, who took the T regularly from the shelter where he lived in Braintree; our family and friends; and the many tourists that were visiting Boston on that holiday weekend, especially a couple from Minnesota who were “delighted to attend our wedding.”
So 27 years into my journey with King’s Chapel I have found what I was seeking and so much more... there is always something new that inspires my faith, but most of all I recognize that it is YOU, my church-home family, that inspire me. I recognize that I am a part of this living community of inquirers, believers, doubters, challengers, teachers, care-givers, people of action – today and you inspire my faith in God.
And especially today as we enter into this Holy Week, and as we venture together into the future of God’s unfolding Spirit of love for us, our minister Joy Fallon welcomes us, with open arms – wherever we are on our journey. And I am so grateful that YOU are part of my journey.
Thank you so much.