“Having grown up in an extremely conservative evangelical, non-denominational church, I did not even know this type of community existed. I was not seeking God, I was seeking a spouse!”                                          

I did not arrive at the Fig in the traditional way. Nearly every member I’ve met who joined Transfiguration as an adult arrived seeking an inclusive spiritual community. Having grown up in an extremely conservative evangelical non-denominational church, I did not even know this type of community existed. I was not seeking God, I was seeking a spouse!

When Mat and I met in 2019, he’d been a very active member of the Fig for the better part of two decades. He started a young adults group in 2003 that was extremely successful, with many now-clergy called to the priesthood during those years they spent as a tight-knit community within the larger community of Transfiguration, worshiping and serving together through their 20s and 30s. He served on important committees, and as altar server on many Sundays, and soon I was hearing words like “thurible” and “chalice” and so many others that had no connection to anything I’d grown up with.

Mat never pushed me to attend church. As a longtime member of the Fig, he’d known many “recovering” Christians like me who’d been scarred by early experiences and just cut church out of their lives. He’d also met many women (for he was also seeking a spouse!) who were hostile not just to the church of their youth but to the idea of Christianity in its entirety. As we got to know each other, it became clear to him that I was open to experiencing this different kind of church. I’d googled (yes, really!) and read about the Episcopal Church soon after we started dating, and I knew at least that the values espoused on the national Church’s website were compatible with my own. And, by the time Transfiguration was fully operational again after Covid, I’d had the privilege to get to know many good and faithful Episcopalians personally.

None of that means it was an entirely smooth journey. Being back in a religious setting wasn’t easy at first. It felt a little like being the new kid at a school where I did not speak the language. And the dichotomy of being the skittish, skeptical newcomer as the +1 for one of the Fig’s most visibly active members could be both funny and overwhelming. But over time, the anxiety dissipated, and I was able to appreciate not just the friendly and welcoming congregation, or the beauty of the service music and flowers and vestments, or even that awesome sense of community the Fig fosters so well. For the first time, as a 40-something adult who’d attended countless church services as a child and teen, I began to feel the presence of God in a house of worship. At the Fig, I realize that I am just now beginning my spiritual journey, surrounded by a loving and supportive community. No, this wasn’t what I was looking for, but I am profoundly grateful that it’s what I found.