Denny Thompson: Why Advent? This question is one that hopefully you have asked yourself and answered with a strong positive answer. Over the past few months we, the members of EET, the Evangelism and Empowerment Team, and a few others have been sharing our temple talks answering that question. Today I would like to start mine by sharing a short story.
It was 1952. The five-year-old kindergarten boy had just moved into a new house in the Barnum area of west Denver. He asked his folks if he could go to church that Sunday and they said they were too busy unpacking from the move. However, he insisted, and they said they would take him and drop him off at a church which they did. They asked him how he would know where he to go once he got inside and he said “It’s okay. I’ll just ask somebody “which is just what he did. The church was a small Methodist Church on West 1st Avenue in Barnum and the little boy as you might have already guessed was me. I grew up in that church and many of my friends today are the same ones that I grew up with in that church and attended high school youth fellowship with.
So, you see I began looking for a church early and that pattern has continued throughout my life. Through my 42 years of teaching and as a school principal across Colorado, through 3 marriages, including sometimes as a single parent I attended many churches. However, I never found one that meant as much as the church I grew up in and never joined one or attended any one regularly until….
Yes, Patti is wife #3. I like to say it took me 3 times to get it right. Patti and I have been married now over 28 years. The good news is Patti hasn’t yet given up on me in her efforts in trying to make me perfect even though I obviously haven’t achieved that yet and most assuredly I never will.
So Patti and I were looking off and on and never found a church that met our needs. We didn’t attend much at all except for Christmas and Easter. She is Italian and grew up in the Catholic Church. She preferred a large liberal church, what we like to call “A Happy Church” where it is all about the music and the production. I favored something a little smaller and more traditional similar to the church I grew up in.
Patti and I are also at different places in our spiritual journey and we wanted a church that accepted that. She feels welcome and a part of Advent even though she does not come as often. Regardless, she supports me, and I support where she is on her faith journey. Therefore, we never found what we were looking for until now.
You could say I found Advent by accident. Divine providence, maybe? One of my passions in addition to sports, cars and storytelling is Old Time Radio. Four years ago, I saw a small newspaper notice that a local church was doing an old-time radio play, a holiday production of The Great Gildersleeve. I attended and was impressed by the performance and the camaraderie of the performers. I later attended another radio play and again was impressed not only by the production but by the relationship of the cast. I told Patti I wanted to attend church to see what services were like. Well, it only took a time or two attending Sunday services. I was hooked. We loved the welcome message in the bulletin along with the warmth of the people when we attended. I have now been an Advent member for 4 years. During that time, I lost my Dad, two years ago, and my Mom last year. It was so comforting to have the Advent family supporting me through those difficult times.
Why Advent? Start with a phenomenal Pastor, Pastor Barb. Her leadership and compassion are always evident. We are constantly challenged to search and question and live the best Christian lives that we can. The liturgy and the music are beautiful, uplifting and meaningful. Advent members are warm, caring and supportive. I am proud to call Advent my church because Advent, even though a smaller church does so much to support the community with community dinners, a food bank, school supply drives… an endless list. I love too that there are so many active groups, XYZ, Adventurers, Men of Advent, Radio Players, Quilters, Bible Study, choir. In addition, there are the many outstanding committees working hard to keep Advent moving forward. A new basement, a new labyrinth, a new cell tower! There is so much to be proud of and thankful for! There is something for everyone as we grow and celebrate our faith together! Yes, I have been looking for a church since I was 5 years, old and I am so grateful to have found one as wonderful as Advent. This is my answer to Why Advent! Thank you.