My name is Charles Monteith and I’d like to share with you about how I came to Two Rivers church and why our church community is important to me. Last summer my wife, Louise, and I heard that a new church was being formed in this community and thought what a great opportunity to use what we have learned at other churches we’ve attended to help develop and bring vibrancy to a new church community.
I had and have the desire to be a part of a community that was authentic in its desire for diversity and inclusion. A church community open to the diversity of thought, regardless of socioeconomic status, regardless of race, regardless of nationality, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of religious background, regardless of whether a person is “spiritual but not religious,” anyone and everyone who might be overlooked or excluded. I wanted to be part of a church community that goes beyond just “tolerance.” I want to be a part of a church that treats people, all people with decency and respect. A community where we treat people as true equals because we believe that we are all made by God and loved by God.
And as we met as a launch team and got to know each other, to share our backgrounds and experiences, and as we used our individual gifts and talents, I could a sense a little of what it might have felt like for the original disciples of Christ. A group of people, from humble positions, they were the fisherman and one was a tax-gatherer, who were chosen to extend the ministry of Jesus. I like to imagine that as a launch team we engaged in many of the same types of conversations that the disciples did. Finding out who we were, what we believed and what we valued first.
What struck me was that we focused on small incremental steps. That had meaning to me because I’ve learned in my own life that when I have looked back over the events of my life, I’ve learned that God makes use of little things to make amazing things happen. It only takes one tiny grain of sand to make a pearl. And it was all of the small influences in my life that helped me to grow in faith and those small influences continue to guide me on my faith journey.
While I have many strengths, I know I can at times be weak and I still have a lot to learn. With the pressures and influences of the world, I can sometimes fail to be a reflection of God’s love. Our church community helps me find that strength that I need. It provides me a place where I can belong to a loving church that answers the call of all those in need, whether that’s in our church community or in our world. It gives me the opportunity to answer the call. That’s why Our church community is important to me.
And I’m grateful for that.