My first experience with a Congregational Church was years ago, when I was living with a friend in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Her family belonged to the Congregational Church in Monterey, and one Sunday, I went with her to a church service. I have to tell you that when the pastor came down from the dais to ask if there were any joys and concerns that people would like to share, I was blown away. I was so struck by how people were speaking right up and sharing their very real joys and concerns. Having grown up in the Catholic Church, this was not something I was familiar with, but something that held so much meaning for me. And then when the pastor offered up a prayer, off the top of his head, which included all of the things people had shared about, I knew I had found something very special—something I had been looking for in my spiritual seeking.

When my husband and I moved our young family to Austerlitz 15 years ago, it didn’t take me long to find Canaan Congregational Church. I hadn’t been to church in several years but happened to see something in the paper about Canaan having just held a Harvest Fair. I went to church the following Sunday and felt welcomed from the moment I walked in.

It wasn’t long before I became a member, and then a deacon. Being a deacon has been such a good fit for me. It involves not only helping with the service each week, and helping administer communion, but also connecting with and offering pastoral care to our church family.

I have recently stepped into the role of lead deacon and am looking forward to serving our church family in this role. I’ve had such good role models over the years in the work of deaconing, including Jean Dickason, Pam Lappies, and Philip Bues, and hope to continue from their example. If you or someone you know would like to be on our deacon contact list, please feel free to let me know and a deacon will be in touch.

Blessings and gratitude,

Tempe Croke