jerry and i started dating on easter of 2005, but we only had time to see each other about once a week w/ the schedule i was working and with his personal responsibilities. getting time to spend together wasn't easy, but we managed. after we had been out on 3-4 dates, he said that he would really like to go to church somewhere, but he didn't know where to go. . . . . .maybe he could come over and go to church with me some time.
h-m-m-m, well, i wasn't really ready to commit to that serious of a relationship w/ him (or anyone) at that point. after all, if i took him to church w/ me then he would meet my children, my family, and many of my friends. that was just a little more than i was ready for at that point.
he was persistent, though, and i had already met his family -- mostly b/c his brother was visiting here for his once-a-year-trip. after he had asked a three or four different times, i finally gave in and invited him to go to church and meet my family. it happened to coincide w/ mother's day, so after church we had dinner at my mother's house and then went up to see his mother for a couple hours.
we had an interim minister, dr. jim ward, during this time, as my/our church was recovery from a recent split due to the pastoral couple who had been there previously. there were lots of feelings of hostility and anger, so dr. ward was a conflict management specialist and that's how we ended up w/ him.
we really liked him. i wanted jerry to join the church, but i didn't want to pester him about it. i had told him i would like it and that it meant a lot to me. dr. jim was different -- it didn't bother him to ask jerry on a regular basis about joining. jerry had almost gone forward once before to join, but that was the same day that riahna was dedicated and he didn't want to take any attention away from "her day." so he waited.
dr. jim kept asking and i had secretly feared that jerry had changed his mind and wasn't planning on joining or waiting until the new minister arrived to decide to join. after we heard that dr. jim would soon be leaving b/c a new minister had been chosen for our congregation, dr. jim asked jerry again when he was going to join. jerry said, "i promise that i'll join before you go."
one sunday as we were all seated in church together, it was that time in the service where the invitation was presented. jerry leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, and whispered "today is as good as any day." and headed up the isle. the smile on dr. jim's face was very enthusiastic to see that jerry had finally made that commitment.
part of our church tradition is to take a picture of the new members and keep them posted on the bulletin board so everyone can match names and faces and keep up on the new members. it also gives them a chance to make sure that they greet new members and invite them to attend other activities and keep them "included".
here's "my jerry" on october 8, posing for his picture in front of the large stained-glass front of the church lobby. i was very happy to see him make this step, too. it almost felt like one more step in being a complete set.