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By Marla Carew
This month we have been inviting members to reflect on the ways in which Christ Church Cranbrook helps them to Make Room for God in their life, and how that relates to their decision to make a financial pledge.
I was raised culturally Christian and even attended a Catholic all-girls’ school but as I got older found myself becoming disillusioned with the way so many church-goers behaved towards others — particularly those who were different. That disconnect bothered me enough that there was even a time that I considered stepping away from Christianity altogether. But my problem was never with God or Jesus, but those churches who put their emphasis on judgment rather than unconditional love. Eventually I realized that an ethical life would be more achievable in a value system and worldview that was loving, live-giving and reverent. It was a decision that led me to the Episcopal Church and at Christ Church Cranbrook — and I haven’t looked back!
There are three specific moments were significant for me, and are good examples of why this Church helped me Make Room for God in my life:
First, in a sermon about her journey to Christian faith, Pastor Manisha talked about taking people on a “case by case basis.” She found and followed the goodness of Christ when she kept an open mind, though not everyone who had identified as Christian had treated her family in loving ways. Second, in one especially memorable sermon (to me, at least), Father Bill spoke of Joseph and the Nativity story, and how even if nothing else in the story was true, the example of Joseph setting his ego aside and making a home in the world for the vulnerable child was a lesson worth keeping. Third and most recently, when Rabbi Mark Miller visited in October to speak on the most conflict with Israel, Father Bill talked about the role of Christians to listen, stand with our friends, and bring a heart of reconciliation.
I’m not very interested in theological hair-splitting or creeds, but I am very interested in how people treat each other. While humans are complex and imperfect (I certainly am), I think that at Christ Church Cranbrook we are at least trying — and more often than not succeeding – in listening, seeking to understand, and seeking to reconcile.
When I pledge, I am voting with my resources to keep the work of this community strong and available to others. In part out of thanksgiving that Christ Church Cranbrook was a place for me to come and find myself, to be welcomed and transformed with powerful preaching, challenging programs and transcendent moments. But also, out of a recognition that Christ Church Cranbrook was here for me only because others before me had cast a similar vote; pledging their resources to this community. I know that there are countless others out there looking for a home, and a place to walk in love and it is my hope and prayer that we will always be there for the next person to be welcomed doors wide open and a warm, loving embrace.
Make your pledge online today and join a community of faith that makes room for God, while making a difference in the world! Want to share your story? Email Fr. Chris at email@example.com