When my neighbor Joanne asked if I attended Bridgeway, I immediately told her I did and invited her to church. She told me she’d think about it, but we never spoke of it again. However, one day I ran into Joanne’s mother, who lives with her. “Joanne is considering visiting Bridgeway,” she told me. “She is just a little concerned because of being in an interracial relationship. She’s not sure if she and her husband will be welcomed or comfortable.”
It breaks my heart to know there are churches where Joanne’s concern may be valid. But I was so glad to be able to reassure her mother that they would definitely be welcomed in at Bridgeway. I told her we have many interracial families who are part of our congregation.
Just about a week later, I spotted Joanne in the lobby after a service. She smiled and waved from afar, but she kept on moving. Once in awhile, our paths would cross briefly as we walked our dogs through the neighborhood, but I never had a chance to talk with her about her experiences at Bridgeway.
Then one evening, she stopped me at church and said, “I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I have appreciated Bridgeway. We were reluctant to visit as an interracial couple, but we felt so welcomed right from the moment we walked in. When we sat in our seats and the choir started singing, I just began to cry. I really felt like we had found a place to call home. Thank you so much for inviting me!”
Joanne’s experience just reminds me how proud I am to be a part of this church that welcomes and loves so well. I am also so glad that the blessings I have experienced at Bridgeway can be shared with others who are looking for a church home.