I’m Jim Campbell from St. Mark Episcopal Church.
I’m thankful always for the God we all believe in, who allows us free will, even including the choice to move away from His presence in our lives.
I grew up as an Episcopalian and have been active in the church, both locally and at our diocesan level, for most of the past 30+ years. I have had for a long time an understanding of the importance of belonging to a local church and being active in the Christian community of that church. That belonging includes supporting the community with my God-given gifts, worshipping, studying and praying, and being friends and giving pastoral support for others.
In late 2001, I was really burned out—both with work and my church activities. I decided when my term on the diocesan church board ended to not belong or work in any church capacity for awhile. I’m not recommending this for all of you to do, but for the next 2 years, I did nothing but attend church worship most Sundays and visit with our church members after worship. My work at Boeing in Everett during the week kept me real busy there, and I decided to spend some evenings while up in the Everett area during each week taking up bowling. I did get pretty good at bowling, and it was sometime fun. But what I found after about 2 years of this was that I was really bored, and life was about as empty as I’ve ever experienced it. I had lost my sense of Christian community, even loss of my faith in some respects.
Looking back, God must have had a plan, and knew I needed to have this time to understand why my faith and community was really so important. In 2004, several new opportunities to serve both in our church and the diocese came up, and I took on both with new vision and sense of need and importance to the community of believers. Since then I have found many ways to serve both God and the church, and to grow in my faith and understanding of God.
I thank God that this time in 2002 and 2003 of “being in the desert” of my faith occurred, so I could clear my mind and heart, and to re-focus myself for the rest of my life in faith. AMEN.