Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a particularly sentimental person. So when I was asked to write something about giving to the church, I thought, “oh no, do I have to talk about feelings and personal stuff that makes me uncomfortable?” Then I realized that honestly, I am comfortable about my relationship to Transfiguration and its importance to my life.
My earliest memory of church is sitting next to my dad in “our” pew in the balcony at Court Street Methodist Church, Rockford, IL. I had a cherry cough drop in my mouth that he must have given me to keep me quiet, and listened intently to the music sung by the boy choir in their white cottas. (The church was considered pretty high for midwestern Methodists and had a large music program.) I couldn’t wait to join the choir and be like those boys! When I was in third grade I started what would be, literally, a lifetime commitment to church music. Even in questioning and sometimes agnostic post-college days, music was my refuge and I was always in a church choir.
Flash forward to 1991 when I met Joel Martinson and moved to Dallas from Minneapolis, where I had been working in music publishing. He was a member of Transfiguration and invited me to attend with him one Sunday when he was subbing for Howard Ross. That started my relationship with the Episcopal Church. Once I moved to Dallas, I had a job as section leader at another church choir on Sunday mornings, so Thursday noon was the service that I regularly attended with a small group of Episcopal church musicians working elsewhere. Without music, those spoken services caused me to focus on the words of the liturgy and the scriptures. I loved the church. The triptych in the front especially provided inspiration. Church in that context, in the sanctuary of Transfiguration, became another refuge for me: a place of quiet reflection and where I began my journey towards a closer connection to God. I went through what was then called Inquirers Class and was confirmed in 1993.
Today, I am fully involved in the life of Transfiguration. I have been in the Transfiguration Choir for years and have served on the Executive Committee of Transfigured Nights. I am a lector, and also help train new lectors to read scripture in a way that communicates the meaning of the words to the congregation. I have been involved with ringing handbells, convening the Gay and Lesbian Fellowship, and planning of countless receptions and events that demonstrate to our parishioners and guests the hospitality of welcoming all to our church.
I give my time, talent, and treasure to Transfiguration in the hope that all its programs continue. I give to support wonderful liturgy and music. I give so that my community at Transfiguration, my friends and family, including our five Godchildren, can continue to provide a place of refuge, peace, and inspiration to those who are here with me now, and perhaps to those who will follow me after I’m gone. I give knowing that others may continue to know our presence in the community as a place of welcome for all persons.
Does giving to the church connect me with God? I consider life a journey where I reach out to somehow get closer to God. The lector ministry, choir, Transfigured Nights, and all the other programs I participate in provide a connection to my life in music, my community, and friends. Time and talent is not enough, however. It takes money to keep Transfiguration’s programs growing. Giving is the only way that will allow us to continue this on path.