Grace Serra-Boldman
SG Member
March 16, 2021

At first, it seemed fun. We wore pajamas, I made a special breakfast, we had TV trays and sat in the family room where my husband Regan had us precariously wired and ready to worship. Church from home had officially begun and we were all so grateful …

“Is there any ketchup?” “I can’t hear it.” “Where’s Pastor Tim at?” “Is Ashley singing to real people?” “It’s too loud.” “Is this bacon organic?” “Guys, could we all please be quiet and listen?” “Dad’s getting coffee.” “Mom, they can’t hear us talking.” Deep breath. “No, but I can.”

I’m writing this reflection nearly a year after our first shut down. Like so many of you, we’ve been up and down, tryin’ to get the feelin’ again. Yes, Barry Manilow fans, I’m here for you, and church at home, I’m here for you too. While it’s not my ideal, it’s been a saving grace.

Is today March?

It’s 5:20 a.m. and I just finished reading Nehemiah Chapter 8 as part of the women’s Bible study at Shepherd’s Gate. Yes, just me and God, reading the Bible together in the early morning. 

For me, this is brand new. 

My “God day” was Sunday but it turns out God is available every day that I’m available. I’d like to think I knew this, but I never really put it into practice until church from home got real. 

In this strange time with no commute or coffee dates, no need for extra carewith an outfit that includes buttons, or a hair look that needs blow drying, I’ve found more time for God.

“Mom, mom, mom, hey mom, mom, mom, moooooooooooom.” School is about to appear in our kitchen, and I have yet another reason to increase my dialogue with the Lord this morning. Church from home takes many forms.

Confirming a family. 

Way back in 2018 when we were happily dunking Lorna Dunes in church coffee at Shepherd’s Gate, we talked about our 14-year-old daughter Catie continuing her faith walk and how to start the process. Our helpful friends at the Welcome Center told us that Catie’s next step would be the First Communion & Confirmation program and we were on our way!

Communion lessons and Wednesday night youth group were the joy of 2019 with fun activities and even an unforgettable overnight retreat that had Catie humming with faith. While I worked with her to complete her workbook, the Shepherds Gate Student’s leadership did most of the heavy teaching. I’m pausing here to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving; I didn’t know how grateful I really was for this experience.

Today, we’re on the last rung of the confirmation prep ladder completed mostly at our home church and in our “van church” – our son Luke taught Catie the Apostle’s Creed on our many long car rides to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We also all took turns this time reading the passages, completing the workbook, and searching the bible to find “her verse.” Every week we showcased a potential verse on the dry erase board, talking about its meaning and listening to her interpretation of it. I can assure you, when Catie makes her confirmation on May 15, 2021, she won’t be the only Boldman ready to receive this sacrament!

Stay in and serve.

Getting the opportunity to serve our community as a family has been a wonderful part of being at Shepherds Gate. With home church, it’s not as easy, however, it’s not impossible! We’ve sent groceries contactless, participated in a drive-thru shelter donation effort and wrote thank you cards to frontline workers. In other words, we’re STILL serving. 

Likewise, our Life Group took to Zoom when we had to, and we’ve been limping along with bursts of caring and connection. I pray we can continue.

Going forward with God.

Yes, we’ve made the best of it. Yes, we’ve found so many unexpected blessings. Yes, I’ve never been more grateful to the Shepherd’s Gate team for all they’ve done and are doing. Yes, I can’t wait to break up with home church. Yes, it’s true. I miss you!

Still, for reasons I won’t detail here, it’s just not the right time for my family to return to in-person worship. So, we’ll stay home and work even harder at being the church. The bible verse God selected for Catie is all the confirmation I need: “The Kingdom of God is within me.” Luke 17:21.