“Good morning to my Community United family!" These are words that many people, including myself, have written on the chat line during the Sunday morning streamed church services that began because of the Covid-19 pandemic and have continued as a regular way to "attend" church if one can't be there physically.
My welcome into this family began about ten years ago when Pastor Rich invited me to join a social group that met occasionally at Matthew's Trattoria. Months later he and some friends happened to be dining at Paper Moon where I had been invited by Erie legend Mary Alice Brown to sing a few songs with her band. When I sat down, Rich asked me in his "I hope you don't say no" voice if I would come to his church and sing that very next Sunday. That invitation set in motion a very important change in my life.
I had become discouraged with my lack of enthusiasm as a church-going Christian. Church had become a chore that was grudgingly attended out of some sense of duty. Once I had sung my song at Community United that first time, I sat down relieved to see friendly smiles from the congregation. Then I heard Pastor Rich's sermon and was challenged to think about everything from what our roles are as followers of Christ to how the Star Wars saga can relate to our modern day challenges of good vs. evil. I never looked back because I had found the right place for me to feel like I could be part of something that was bigger. Here was a congregation that had a mission. It was about trying to show kindness and compassion from one individual to another, be it a relative, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a stranger.
I used to pat myself on the back when I attended my previous church. What a good Christian! Now I reproach myself if I have to miss church. I feel a connection to contributing to the life of the church. Our membership is filled with people who want to do what they can to support the efforts of their church. Most of all I love to sing in church. Cheryl Strecker would say I have made it my personal mission to expose the congregation to secular music that contains a message from God, whether it be "The Secret of Life," by James Taylor or "Somewhere" from West Side Story!
After retiring from McDowell High School as an English/Theatre teacher (20 years) and 12th grade guidance counselor (13 years), I am thankful to have found new ways to stay involved in the community. Community United has made that an easy task. I currently serve as Vice-President of the Church Council, and I would like to invite everyone to become as involved in as much of our church life as you'd like. There are so many projects, fundraisers, committees, outreaches, and social events. Please consider how you might join in! I will tell you this. It's important, it's fun, and you'll feel good too!