On October 28, our own Chris Maricle gave a stewardship moment and talked about First Congregational United Church of Christ as his family’s DeWitt family. Please take a moment to listen to his story!
Here’s a transcript:
Good morning. I hope you will bear with me for a short story.
In 2002, Holle and I were living in Davenport and she was starting a job at Finley hospital in Dubuque. We knew that making that jaunt every day wasn’t going to be ideal so we thought it would be good to look for a home somewhere in between. And we ended up buying a house here in DeWitt. We did have friends around the Quad Cities but we did not know a single person who lived here and our families were over 100 miles away.
It wasn’t too long after we moved here that we were expecting our first child. And what do you do when you have a child… you get them baptized. We had looked around at churches in the Quad Cities and none of them really called to us. But now we had to get serious. So since we still didn’t know too many people or too much about Dewitt yet, we asked our neighbors Kevin and Jane Jansen. They seemed to know DeWitt well and had been very good to us. Their recommendation was First Congregational United Church of Christ. So we thought we’d give it a shot. Didn’t know anything about the UCC. Holle and I grew up Methodist and Lutheran. And to be quite honest we didn’t even know the parsonage was on the same cul-de-sac as us.
So one Sunday morning 16 years ago, we stepped through the doors to this church and all that changed. I can’t recall who all we met that day but I do know we were met with many smiling faces and handshakes. Many “welcomes” and “good mornings”. And we knew almost immediately we didn’t need to look anywhere else.
Over the last 16 years, you and this church have seen us through a lot. You have helped raise my children. Three baptisms. Giving them their first bibles. Supporting Rory through confirmation and Soren now. And Beck in a few years. Countless hours of Sunday School, Christmas programs, and now Faith In Motion. And what an amazing thing that has been. Around 35 kids on Wednesdays learning how to put their faith in motion on the court and in the community and at home. And reaching out beyond these walls to our community’s youth. This church hasn’t been afraid to try new things to meet everyone’s spiritual needs.
You have supported Holle and I and many others through mission trips with your prayers and support. This church stands strong when God calls us to his children far away, or to a place hit hard by natural disaster, or right here in DeWitt. First Congregational has gained a reputation as a church of action.
But maybe even more important than those things, of which I could go on and on, is that we feel as welcome now as we did when we walked through those doors for the first time. We’ve met amazing people in this place. We’ve made many friends. You are our DeWitt family. And I’ve never felt more proud to be part of this family, when in 2016 we declared to the world that everyone is welcome here. The welcome is why Holle and I give. And I hope that when you consider your pledge this year, you think of that couple that walked through those doors 16 years ago as strangers and gained a family. And you think of your own story. And of all of those who we will welcome next. Thank you.