Giving thanks to God as we celebrated the baptism of John Lee and that he chose us to be his church family – what an exciting day of worship yesterday! Grateful to be on this journey of faith + life with you, John!
A note from John: “I grew up going back and forth between the Baptist faith of my mother’s family and the Methodist faith of my father’s until my mother went in a different direction. I spent several years in nondenominational churches that took some aspects of Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, and Baptist faiths. It was during this time that I began to question many aspects of what I was being taught: the contrast of the loving, forgiving God and bountiful blessings through his Son with the punitive, vengeful, angry God that I was hearing about every Sunday. Even asking questions seemed to be a sin in this environment. Coupling these mixed messages with a growing sense that I wasn’t like others in terms of my sexuality, I ended up leaving the church at age 16.
I sparingly attended church after that; the feelings of dread and shame left quite a bit of scarring on my soul. Burt a series of events that tested me greatly – my diagnosis of thyroid cancer in 2016, the death of my mother in 2018, and the stress that led to leaving my longtime job in 2020 – led me back to a faith that had always given me comfort and where I felt the strongest identity, the Methodist faith. An online search and conversations with two members of Glendale, James Poland and Key Harwell, led me to check out Glendale’s online service on Palm Sunday 2020. Since then, I have found a spiritual home that I was missing and wasn’t sure I would ever find; a caring, nurturing environment; and a reestablishment of my Christian faith. Glendale is a vibrant environment that works hard to live up to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and it is a joy to have found it.”