Erin Turner has been attending Restoration for the past four years. She serves faithfully on the set up team and as a reader. Today she shares how she came to to find Restoration and how the rhythms of the week-to-week interactions have been a source of comfort to her.
Before I moved to Dallas four years ago, I lived in Atlanta, and it was there that I began attending an Anglican church. When I decided to move, one of the first things I began researching was Anglican churches. I compiled a list of churches I would visit when I moved, and made a plan to go to each a few times before I decided where I would attend permanently.
On the last Sunday before I moved, a couple visited my little Anglican church in Roswell. This church, St. Peter’s, is tiny. We met in the coffee shop the priest owned, and if there were twenty of us there it was a crowded Sunday. The long main room was divided by a freestanding, double-sided, hundred-year-old brick fireplace, and we sat on one side of it, around the available coffee shop tables, chairs turned towards the altar, which was a cloth-covered pair of tables raised on 5-gallon coffee urns. So, when people visit, they’re hard to miss, and everyone has the chance to meet them. This couple shared that they were in town for a high school reunion, or a family event, I forget which. As the conversation unfolded, my wonder grew. They were from Texas—from Dallas—from Restoration.
Restoration was one of the churches on my list, but that visit from Chip and Sherry Levers moved it to the top. It was the first place I visited, and after that first visit, it was the only place I visited. I knew, even then, that this was the kind of church I wanted to make my home.
And what a home it has been to me. When I moved, I had just left a job that had all but broken me. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. The liturgy and communion gave me a way to connect with God when I was too drained to find my own words. I so desperately wanted to connect with people, but I didn’t have the energy to be very social. And so people reached out to me when I couldn’t, inviting me to lunch, to Crafty Chic, to community group. They drew me in to the life of the church, slowly, gently. And here I am.
The thing I love most about my time at Restoration is how ordinary it is, how quotidian. Just as the liturgy has its rhythms, we have ours. Sunday to Sunday, punctuated by community groups and TIE groups, text conversations and social media interactions, lunches and dinners. There have been births, and marriages, and deaths, celebrations and mourning, but it is the daily, weekly presence of the church, and my presence in the church, which has become so precious to me. It is a significant part of the rhythm of my life, as over the last four years I’ve been drawn in and become a member of this particular iteration of the Church’s body.
That quiet sense of belonging has been a steady support through all the ups and downs of my personal life. People from Restoration have given me advice when I was applying for PhD programs, celebrated when I decided to stay in Dallas and attend SMU, rescued me when my car broke down on the side of the road, comforted me when my father passed away. And I hope I, in turn, have done my part in helping and serving. But even beyond the specific instances, and even when I’m too tired or overwhelmed or busy to stop and talk to anyone, Restoration has been a place where I can go and just—be. Be reminded of what’s important. Be reminded of who I am in Christ. Be reminded of God’s unfailing goodness. Be in the presence of God, with his people.