Like so many of you, we visited many of the Episcopal churches in Alexandria before finding Emmanuel. In fact, we spent five years at two different Old Town churches, but never felt at home in either. Our son’s baptism was really the tipping point for us. Despite having attended a church for a number of years, we didn’t know the priest ... or anyone else in the church. We knew we needed a change. We baptized our son Alex in Scott’s family’s church in Charlottesville, and went on the hunt for a new church of our own.
We can no longer remember what first drew us to the doors of Emmanuel nearly a decade ago, but we do remember knowing we had found “our place” almost immediately. It was the smallest things that made the difference — Chuck greeting us at the door, and then remembering our names the next weekend. The nicest parishioner walking us to the infant room, versus just pointing us down the hallway. A service that felt progressive and relevant to our lives. And people at coffee hour who were genuinely interested in welcoming us to the church!
Our initial instincts about Emmanuel have been reaffirmed over and over again. Emmanuel is a wonderfully inclusive, one-of-a-kind community. In Emmanuel, we found a church that was accepting of both us and our (spirited) children. We found a church that could grow with us, educating our preschoolers through Emmanuel Preschool and continuing to nurture our children as they journey through elementary school. We found a church that offers many social activities, which allow us to connect with both new and old friends. We found a church that allows us to give back what we have at that moment--whether serving as a vestry member, or in busier times of life, hosting a coffee hour Sunday. And we found a church with clergy who teach a message each and every Sunday that never fails to resonate.
So thanks to you, parishioners, leaders, and staff of Emmanuel, for becoming “our place” and for welcoming our family with open arms!
Courtney & Scott Keplinger