Anna Marie Friars
Although I was baptized and raised in the Catholic church, through obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Sacred Music, I was exposed to the practices of many different religions, denominations of Christianity, and the differences within denominations church-to-church. I have attended many churches (especially in the last 5 years as a student) and had yet to find a place which I felt I could call home. Many of the churches I worked for or attended had pieces of what I was looking for but lacked the bigger picture.
Since beginning work at First Baptist, getting involved with children’s ministry, and attending regular bible studies, I feel as though I can call this church home. I have not yet attended a church where I feel my experiences with the congregation, choir members, orchestra members, youth ministry, and staff have been stellar across the board. The people I have been blessed to meet at our church have opened up their hearts and homes to me for fellowship and have gone out of their way to not only make me feel welcome, but to make me feel at home.
I believe First Baptist has offered me a unique challenge in my faith and has encouraged me to ask more questions of myself and others to have the more personal relationship with Christ that I crave. It seems that this church family happened upon me in the right place and at the right time in my life and I feel so very fortunate to be able to serve here with such wonderful people.
The students I have met at First Baptist are incredible. They have already made a huge impact on my life in just a number of weeks. I know already that these are likely to be life-long friendships because through Christ we have all been able to bond on a level deeper than many people have yet to understand. I look forward to our bible studies together knowing they will be full of a spectrum of emotions. We can laugh, smile, joke, challenge and learn with each other all while learning about ourselves and our relationship with God.
In the music ministry, I could not feel more nurtured. Penny (and Byron) have led faithfully as good examples to us and treat us as their own. We have the perfect mix of faith and talent wrapped up into the members of our many ensembles and it is a pleasure to work with all of them. It has been very exciting already to spend time with these people and I cannot wait to know them on a deeper level.
The congregation blew me away the Sunday when I decided to officially join our church. When those of us joining were asked to wait and be received by the members of the church, I didn’t expect anyone to come forward. When I noticed an entire aisle full of people who were waiting to greet my friends and I into their church, I had already been validated by Christ in my decision to join. It could not have been a more perfect Sunday to join with our new pastors arrival and sermon touching on this topic exactly. I am excited to see what new elements of Christ Dr. Shiell will bring with him in his ministry here and I am looking forward to being along to witness that journey.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a member of this family created in Christ. I am very proud to officially call First Baptist my home.