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Sharing Our Faith: Gary Pelton

I remember three things vividly about my spiritual growth as a boy…

First, I remember the magic of sitting in the front of the church as an acolyte. It was the best seat in the house, a part of the action but unnoticed by all, and alone with my thoughts.

Second, the incredible importance of service to others:

John Wesley said,“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can.As long as ever you can.”

It was a Methodist thing (but not really). The best adventures of this kind were the trips to an Indian Reservation in Oklahoma and Redbird Mission in the Eastern Mountains of Kentucky with my youth group.

Finally, there was the music…ah, the music. Singing the classic hymns, enthralled by our Chancel Choir, playing my horn with my Dad and brother, and listening to my mother fill the huge sanctuary with her flute. How the language of music speaks to us all, transcending words and our thinking minds and passing right to our souls.

Then I left home and as I did, I left my church home.

In later years I remember my Mom asking about my Sunday morning habits or more broadly my spiritual habits. And I remember telling her about my long walks in the woods and how such experiences were more valuable to me than attending a church. I pressed the idea that churches are only one way to experience and worship god. I was aware, if only vaguely, that the power of my spiritual upbringing had been things that were not exclusive to churches: Music, of course…it is everywhere; Service to others has in many ways been my life’s work, and lastly Meditation.

My mom listened quietly to my long, often quite philosophic explanations, and ultimately just asked: Yes Gary…but do you do take those “walks” every week?

The answer was, of course, No…

I have long since come back to church. And having visited many churches, I can frankly say I have always felt at home in a place of worship. (I suppose that is something else I gathered when I was young), but I am not sure I can say I have had another church home since leaving my boyhood home, even though I have been an active member of several churches.

Then Rebecca and I came to Cove………and it is becoming home.

Here…I get the wonder of the things I got as a boy in church, but I have also come to a new appreciation of the power of a congregation of believers. Meditation and prayer feels different when I join with others. Whereas I once appreciated the aloneness and even anonymity of worship, I now find our fellowship special. Some of that is the openness and seeking I bring to this church, but it also this place and all of you, the way it works in symmetry with my soul. I have not questioned it… or tried to analyze it; I have just accepted it as right and true, and tried to follow where it leads.

I am grateful for our new home here at Cove and thankful to each of you for being a part our spiritual journey.

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