I’m writing about the church I have attended for the past 7 years, Immanuel Presbyterian Church in San Jose, CA.
I was raised Catholic but fell away from the church after I made my confirmation when I was about 14 years old. I think my parent’s felt they had done their duty getting me through basic religious training and did not require that I continue to attend mass.
Fast-forward about 42 years. I knew there was something missing from my life. I was just going though the motions of life.; marriage, work, friends, vacations, nothing seemed to satisfy me. Then, one day I was getting my hair cut and Michelle, my hairdresser, asked why I wasn’t smiling. I told her I was not happy with my life and didn’t know what I should do. She suggested I attend the church she had started attending about a year before. Her daughter had been diagnosed with cancer and she had sought God to help her get through the ordeal (that’s another story). She offered to meet me at Immanuel that Sunday. I told her I was busy that Sunday (I don’t think I was but wanted to think about it for a week). I met her there a week later and to this day cannot believe what happened to me. The Holy Spirit met me at the door of the sanctuary and totally enveloped me. I didn’t see or hear anything when I went into the sanctuary but felt a presence that I couldn’t explain. I left that day not sure what had happened but knew I would be back.
The following Sunday Michelle was not there. I summoned up my courage and went into the Narthex (small room before the sanctuary) and was met by a BIG teddy bear of a man named Cayo. He hugged me and welcomed me to worship. Wow, what a great place, they give hugs to people they don’t even know. After the service I saw Cayo on the patio with a woman that he introduced as his wife, Rosia. Another hug! I left that day anxious to return the following Sunday.
I have returned each Sunday for seven years. I have become really good friends Rosia and Cayo. They mentored me in my return to Christ and became dear friends. About 4 years ago they moved away and I took over their Welcome and Membership Eldership for the next 3 years. I felt I needed to give back what they had given me. I hope I lived up to their reputation.
I have grown in my relationship with God and know now what was missing in my life seven years ago. I now have a peace that no matter what is going on in my life (or not) God is always there.
The sad thing is that our church is closing on June 12th. We don’t have enough members/regular attendees to “be the church” rather than just attend church. This is not just our church but is happening to many churches these days. I am now in the process of looking for another church to attend and be active in. I’m going to take my time and wait for the Holy Spirit to meet me at the door where I should be.
In the spirit of being a Presbyterian, where all you need to be a Presbyterian is a 9×13 pan I offer the following recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. www.thepioneerwoman.com
Olive Cheese Bread
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- 1 loaf French Bread
- 6 ounces, weight Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives
- 6 ounces, weight Black Olives
- 2 stalks Green Onions (scallions)
- 1 stick Butter, Room Temperature
- ½ cups Mayonnaise
- ¾ pounds Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Roughly chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Slice green onions into thin pieces.
Combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. Bake at 325ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.
Mixture can also be refrigerated (up to two days) and used as a dip. Great with crackers.
You can also spread the cheese mixture on the bread, wrap in saran and freeze it for later use.