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By Steven Tyshka
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.
Christ Church Cranbrook has been an instrumental part of my faith journey the past several years and has blessed me with focus on my walk with Christ, allowing me to “Make room for God” in ways I never expected. After moving to Ferndale and ‘church shopping’ for some time, I found bits and pieces of congregations appealing, but nothing that truly drew me in. At the suggestion of a friend, I started attending the virtual services that Christ Church Cranbrook offered during the pandemic. My introduction to the church, albeit remotely, instantaneously provided me with a sense of community and belonging in a challenging time. The passion of the clergy and sermons provided more than just ‘spiritual nourishment’ in a time that we were all longing for connection. I found myself deepening my relationship with Christ and yearned to become closer to the community that the church offered.
Fast forwarding to things opening up and limited in-person services beginning, I was amazed at the warmth and openness of the congregation, even in the midst of masks, social distancing, and limits on connection. I came to form many connections at this time where we were still isolated in the greater community.
These connections were solidly evident when I was called to reaffirm my faith before the congregation. The day came where the Bishop confirmed congregants at the church, and although I was already baptized and confirmed in another faith tradition, I felt called to reaffirm my faith at Christ Church Cranbrook. I initially was saddened by the reality that my family would not be comfortable attending this event with me as they are fervently committed to the faith denomination in which I was raised. As I stood before the congregation proclaiming my faith with the Bishop laying her hands upon me, I was overcome with emotion as I looked back and a large group of friends that I had formed the past few years had their hands on my shoulders. God was speaking through this band of brothers and sisters who love me for who I am, just as Christ teaches. It was abundantly clear that I was following the path that Christ has called me to walk at that moment. God always had room for me, and I needed to make room for Him!
I’ve found myself looking for other ways to become more connected with my Christ Church family, and have participated in faith formation offerings, volunteer events, and many of the offerings at the church. During the “Spiritual Autobiography” class, I forged several solid bonds with the other participants, as we shared very personal testimonials of what has shaped our faith journeys in a trusted group setting. This opportunity allowed me to truly connect with a small group of others whom I may not have otherwise found commonalities with. We now share a unique kinship and a deeper connection to each other as part of the larger church family as a result of our Spiritual Autobiography experience.
Being blessed by the incredible ministry of Christ Church, I’ve found myself called to give back as a symbol of my appreciation for the many blessings that the church has afforded me. I do this not only in my tithe to the church in support of the many ministries, outreach and faith development offerings, but also by giving my time to service opportunities within the church and within the greater community. The commitment of a pledge blesses the church and its ministries, and I am blessed knowing that I am supporting the growth and faith formation of others whom the church reaches. I consider my pledge to be a mutual blessing in that regard, and joyfully offer it to the church and those served by Christ Church. Supporting the church is one way that I can honor the call to serve as His hands and feet.
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