Holy Chrismation Anniversary of Three Years!

25 06 2009

SYLVIA'A CHRISMATION 6-25-06art chrisnation 6-25-06

                a.S, F chrismation          

We had been searching for over 30 years for a more authentic New Testament church.  I can remember –starting as newlyweds coming home after church services and just crying.  Everything seemed so untouchable.  We hardly got to know anyone very well.  There just wasn’t enough time during occasional socials to form lasting bonds.  The few friends we had bonded with in college that went to that church were also newlyweds and no longer had the time to socialize as much. 

Jim and I always believed that the church should bring people together and not separate them.  The “aloneness” followed us through many church settings.  We even tried a “house church” for awhile.  Eventually, that too became a place for division and lack of real bonding.

We traveled to several different towns to be a part of what seemed like “on the edge” New Testament churchs.  Now to be honest , we did make friends in each of them.  We are still in contact with some people from most every church we were ever a part of.  However, we knew there was still a missing link.

Our youngest daughter who was going through a divorce had a very hungry heart, too.  She had been a missionary teacher in Ukraine for a year and remembered seeing the Orthodox churches.  In fact, she had been  given a list of Orthodox books to read to prepare herself to defend the Protestant faith!  She never really read  the books but remembers being in awe of the churches she saw as a tourist. 

Her grief was so bad that she cried out to God for some answers.  She believes that God reminded her of those books.  She ordered Becoming Orthodox,  A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith by Peter E. Gillquist.  This book deeply impacted her life.  Faith challenged us to read it, too.  We also had a time each week where we listened to a weekly podcast : Our Life in ChristOur hearts were so thirsty and we drank these podcasts in like we were travelers who hadn’t had water for days and at last found a creek or river of clear water.

The next step was finding an Orthodox church to visit.  Vera located several but we decided to visit St. Ignatius in Franklin, Tennessee.  We knew that Fr. Gordon Walker had started this church and we hoped to meet him.  So on Labor Day of 2005 –we ventured over to Franklin.  We were met by a dear lady, Myrna, who later became one of our sponsors.  She took us under her wing and explained all that was happening during the service.

During coffee hour, we actually got to meet Fr. Gordon. Jim cried on his shoulder because he knew that he had found what he had been looking for all of his life.

Faith moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for a new job.  A mission church was just geting started there sponsored by St Ignatius.  Fr. Stephen Rogers from St. Ignatius was there off and on to help get the church going.  We decided to drive the 102 miles one way each Sunday to be a part of this parish.  They had a temporary priest.  We asked him about becoming catecumens–but we were all told to wait a bit. 

Finally, on Christmas Eve of 2005 –Jim ,Vera, and I were made catecumins.  Fr. Gordon Walker was also at that service.  It was so special to us. 

The culmination came for us on June 25, 2006.  Fr. Stephen Rogers finally decided that we could be chrismated.  We arrived very early that morning as we had to have our life time confessions.  What a special day that was.  Our grown children and our small grandsons drove the distance to share our joy. Myrna and her husband, Deacon Edward, from St. Ignatius became our sponsers. 

Three years have now passed.  We feel that the Orthodox faith has made our lives more accountable to the Lord.  Our faith has also had the depth to see us through some serious times.  I found out I had breast cancer in the fall of 2007.  As soon as I had time to recover and feel like a person again– Jim got very sick with his aortic condition again.  In October 2008 ,  Jim spent two weeks at Vanderbilt Medical center in Nashville.  After opening him up –it was determined that he was inoperable  They wrapped his aneurysms up in dacron and sewed him up.  After working all of his adult life–he was now disabled.  We would have never made it through such difficult times without the Orthodox faith.

Now we are blessed to be on the ground floor of a mission church in Clarksville, Tennessee just 30 miles from our home.  We also have a new priest after having guest priests for almost a year. 

Our hearts are full of joy and thanksgiving for all the Lord has done for us in these three years of being Orthdox christians. 

May God bless each of you!

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