When I was asked to share my thoughts about how I see God working in my life, I wondered if I could really put my thoughts into words, and share them up here in front of everyone. I have to say this reflective exercise has been a rewarding one. Coming up here away from my usual seat in my “home pew” stretches me beyond my comfort zone, but I believe it pleases God to see us reaching out to tell each other how his love has made a difference in our lives. We all have a story to tell about who we are, and why we keep coming back to worship together here in this church. We need to tell our stories, for they connect us to each other. I believe this is one way that we serve the Lord.

“What does this church mean to me?” It is a safe refuge for when I need to put my hectic life on hold to center myself about what really matters in my life and the world I live in. When my father died 8 years ago, I felt such peace to come here for worship the Sunday following his funeral to just sit in God’s house with other people of faith. There is a serenity that comes with being reminded that we are not alone.

This happens for me every Sunday, too. I am reminded that God is ultimately steering the ship, as I listen to the thought-provoking sermons and readings. I am reminded that God has blessed us with a talented choir and many individual soloists who share their gifts of music with all of us. Having grown up in a Roman Catholic Church, where my experience of the mass was one of rote repetition that I usually tuned out, I relish the fact that I actually pay attention to the message and the music in this church!

And I love that we are, like the name states, a Congregational Church. It is our congregation that makes us strong. It is a wonderful thing to come here on Sundays with excitement to see friends of all ages and backgrounds that I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t been for this church. We check in on how our week was, sharing our joys and challenges, truly caring about each other.

I enjoy feeling like I get to contribute to the life of this church, too, through involvement in committees and events that bring a sense of fulfillment and fun to my life that goes far beyond Sunday worship. And if I may put in a plug here…we still need people to sign up as hosts for Coffee Hour next month, so if you’re looking for a fun way to get involved, please see me! I’m the Java Mama on duty for the month of March!

I digress. I am proud of this church. When Linda or Marlayna say during Communion, “All are welcome at God’s table”, I rejoice that my church is accepting of all of God’s children, knowing full well that not all faiths share this belief that resonates so strongly with me.

There is great joy in this church, especially at Christmas time. When Wendell and Gina sing “Oh, Holy Night” in the Christmas in the Village concert, and when the choir belts out its harmonies during “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” in our Christmas Eve service, I get chills of pride. Our Drive-through Nativity is a wonderful gift that we give to our community, and it is a joy to participate in it with all generations within our church family. We know that the Christmas season is so much more than just giving and receiving gifts on Christmas Day.

And when I really look at all that this church does throughout the year with youth programs, missions, community events, the committee work, and the millions of little unspoken things we do for one another behind the scenes when someone is sick or lonely or has lost a loved one, I am amazed. We do what Jesus would do. We give back. We know it’s why we are here on this beautiful, miraculous earth. It makes me feel good to be a part of this congregation. It’s an honor to know that God is smiling at us.

Even though I moved to Stratham, NH, three years ago, this is still my church. I am at home here.

Kathy McQueeney