Caroline, our oldest child and only daughter, has never met a stranger. She’s confident and loves meeting new people and learning their story. During the school season when Wonderful Wednesday meals are in full swing, we love to eat with our church family. It is not uncommon for Caroline to take a full 10 minutes to walk from our table to grab a glass of water and return. She gets lost, but it isn’t because she doesn’t know where she’s going. She gets lost because she has found a dozen people to talk with along the way. The people she finds are people who could easily be her grandparents, or people who resemble her beloved Nana Pat Thompson. These new friends, who feel like family members, are people who she may not otherwise run into at the church. You see, Caroline worships with our family at the 8:40 Awakening Service, and only attends the 11am worship service during the Children’s Sermon time.
When I think back to my most valuable and meaningful memories of growing up in the church, those memories involve my relationships with fellow believers and Christ followers. Intergenerational relationships with people who loved me without stipulation, mentored me in the faith, passed me a Cert mint from their pocket during worship, truly listened to my thoughts and questions, and inspired me to yearn for God and grow and mature in my faith.
One of the things I value most in our congregation at FUMC is the variety of people who call this their church home. People who have come from various places in their faith journey, people who have lived in this community for a lifetime or have retired here, people spanning every generation, and I want my children to know them all. We are the church when we are together. We are the church when people other than myself and my husband influence the life and faith of Caroline. We are the church when we raise each other’s children up in the faith with kindness, attention, encouragement, wisdom, love, and grace.
On our churchwide summer calendar, there are many opportunities coming up for the whole church to gather together for fellowship, mission, and time to develop intergenerational relationships. I hope you will take a look at your calendar and commit to spend time with the FUMC church family in the coming weeks. These events are not just for families with young children. They are for everyone! Join us on Thursday, July 27 at Fantasy Golf to play a little putt putt. Meet us in Asheville on Sunday, July 30 for a 2:05pm Tourist Game. Come listen to the Summer Festival Choir present the fruit of their labors on Thursday, August 3. Join us for a fun day rafting on the Tuckaseegee River on Saturday August 5. Plan on packaging meals to help end world hunger on Sunday, August 13 in our church gym. Join us for a pool party at the Lake Junaluska Pool on Sunday, August 20. And finally, come on Sunday, August 27 for our Back to School Bash in our church parking lot. Invitations are sent home in the backpacks of every school child in Haywood County, and it’s a huge opportunity for outreach and fellowship. Our family is looking forward to sharing these experiences with you, our church family. See you there!
-Pastor Becky Brown