We Are About Relationships
Dennis and Pauline Rogers met at Christ UMC. Both divorced after failed long-term marriages, they found themselves in the same Companions in Christ class. Dennis was a single dad to his daughter in junior high (Marigrace) and Pauline had two grown sons (Mike and Jason) and a teenage daughter (Emily).
“We both had been comforted and loved by many of the same people during our “train wrecks” and we got to know each other in the context and safety of those amazing friends. Our marriage was a celebration of the community who had seen God work in our lives individually and together,” recalls Dennis.
Dennis grew up active in church, left in his late teens until he was 30 and has been active ever since. “Even though I have been ‘in church,’ ‘religious,’ and ‘pursuing’ God for most of my life, the God of my understanding was shattered when my marriage ended. It was a dark, broken time, and I realized I could not fix the situation by being a nice guy or praying more,” Dennis remembers.
For Dennis, Christ UMC became a safe place to be broken, to rest and renew and be loved, to see and feel what acceptance and community is. He says he used to come to church to find God, and what he found were rules and judgment. Now he comes to church to live out and share the grace that has been shown to him in an amazing faith community.
Pauline, similarly grew up in the church. Her great-grandfather was a United Methodist pastor, and she was a pastor’s wife for 30 years. “The church has always been the center of my life and a source of support in times of need. When my marriage ended, I was devastated and heartbroken. My family at Christ UMC took care of me during that time of healing, and after the death of my oldest son Mike in early 2011. Christ UMC has been a place where I have experienced tremendous spiritual growth and healing, and where I found my amazing new husband! The youth group has been a huge source of support for Emily as well during the past few years.
What ministries have you been involved in at Christ UMC?
Dennis: We both sing in the choir and are communion stewards. We’ve helped with Habitat for Humanity builds, serve as pen pals in the Prison Ministry, and have previously served on the Lay Leadership Committee. I have also served in other capacities of the Prison Ministry including facilitating a Disciple Class at Riverbend, participating in the Christmas Dinner, and working at the Building Lives Sale. I have also been involved with the Stephen Ministry and attended the Gifts and Talents Retreat.
Pauline: I have helped with Christ’s Closet and taught Sunday School. Dennis and I have been part of the dinner groups where we’ve gotten to meet some great people. I’ve also served on the Staff Parish committee and attend the Women’s Bible Study class.
What makes Christ UMC unique?
Dennis: Pauline and I have been members at Christ UMC for five years. To me, this church invites me to be in relationship with a loving God, and doesn’t tell me exactly what that has to look like. It is a place of Grace and contemplation and action instead of religion and black/white judgment and fear.
Pauline: I have never been in a church that placed so much emphasis on “hands on” ministry in our community and world. Many churches are good at raising money and supporting ministries financially, but this church gives hands as well! There are also numerous ways to make connections and friendships through small groups.
What does “We Are About Relationships” mean to you?
Dennis & Pauline: We hear and see from the pulpit and throughout the community that we are a broken people, all of us, and are invited to explore the mystery of Grace together.