I have been coming to Saint Thomas for about four years, and most of you that have met my husband Justin and I, you might have asked yourself “When will these kids ever finish school?” Our answer would be “Hopefully, never.” We are dedicated to our academic pursuits, so much so, it is a miracle that we ever left the library long enough to notice each other! Therefore, it is not surprising that God only managed to get my attention by being assigned for homework. To check of the final requirements in my lest semester at VCU, I enrolled in World Religions. And next to quantum mechanics and classical thermodynamics, it was the most education experience of my college career. Where those chemistry courses changed how I see the universe, this class shifted my entire perception of religious life.
My exposure to Christianity growing up were mostly televangelists and reading the news about the rise of the evangelical megachurches in America. From history books to headlines, religion was presented to me as the herder of sheep and the enemy of intellect. Thus, I was very surprised by the reading assignments on the Jewish tradition to not just read, but study the Torah, and to not just follow, but wrestle with God. In the scholars and rabbis commentaries I found reason, curiosity and questioning in their approach to scripture and ritual, showing me an outlook on faith that I could relate to as a scientist.
So when my spiritual journey eventually led me to searching for a church family with Justin, we were naturally looking for a place not just to be read a verse and eat doughnuts, but where we could learn about God and find food for our souls. We visited several congregations of different denominations and stopped shopping after we attended a service Saint Thomas. This parish not only impressed us with the genuine and authentic welcome it exudes, but that morning marked the first time either of us had ever walked out of a church’s doors discussing the Gospel. We knew at that moment that we had found some place special. And as we continued to get involved, we were not disappointed as we continued to be inspired, challenged and stretched by the sermons, conversations, and ministries happening here. At Saint Thomas I have been gifted with the best study group to help me grow to know Christ: one that does not just memorize the material for the looming final examination, but instead dares to dive in deep, strives to emblazon the message on their hearts, and boldly experiments with every way we can imagine to walk ‘the way' in the world today.