Good Morning! My name is Anne Brack and I’m delighted to have the chance to talk with you today. I’m the wife of Jeb and the mother of Nora and Pat. After moves around the country, we’ve lived in Wyoming since 2010. We started at CCG, and after Nora graduated High School in 2014, Jeb told me that if we changed churches to A&HT, “Maybe I’ll come more, I have friends there.”
So we changed to be here 3 years ago. I started doing what I felt called to do in each Episcopal church I’ve been in – be active during the Worship as Eucharistic Minister and Lector and go to adult formations that interested the seeker in me. I felt nourished.
Almost immediately, I found myself drawn to doing more. This church is so clear on the Great Commandment – love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. This is different from the experience I had growing up Roman Catholic in a domestic violence situation, and that is not the message I got there. I was admonished to love the way Mary did and just accept all that was put on me, because that was God’s will.
Back to the present and here at A&HT… We are encouraged and expected to love ourselves. That’s counter cultural – good moms are supposed to sacrifice and give up their needs to meet the needs of everyone else. Not here! There are a lot of women here who don’t care about being likable or not. I’m not talking about being rude or offensive, I mean a lot of women here do things their way and are not looking for any person’s approval. They are unapologetic about who they are and what they are doing. They come in, share their gifts that are needed, and then get out and go rest and renew. (Men do this, too, of course. It’s remarkable that the women do it.) There is not an expectation or norm to give until it hurts. And… +Eric supports this! These women, Eric, and I found each other and they asked me to do more.
- Would I be a steward to the Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors? OK
- Be on Worship Commission? Yes.
- Be on Altar Guild? Not now.
- Be on Vestry? Really, me? YES!
- Be Communications Ministry liaison to vestry? Yes.
And here is where I found my tipping point.
- I knew work was going to be crazy during the divestiture and acquisition.
- I knew my job was going away and that I had to find another to start in 2018.
- I knew my personal life was crazy with both kids graduating from college and high school.
And what happened, what did I do? I decided to double down on love. I committed to surrender to God and try to immerse myself more in loving God, my neighbor, and myself. I became an explorer, looking for signs of God and love at work. I started to seek more ways I could serve in the #jesusmovement.
So I started working on A&HT’s Facebook presence. Let’s just start posting what we are doing and ask people to click like and share this love message. Then, I followed up with Nikki after the skills survey to recruit her to help. Then things morphed into the website renewal, and then Restoring Conversations, and then suddenly I realized that I’d become an evangelist, and I kind of like it.
Very little in my life has become more steady in 2017, yet I am different. I know that God is holding me tight, and I’m not planning to let go.
If God can love and help someone like me, then God really is for everyone. Maybe directly through easing their hearts, maybe through a neighbor, maybe by taking care of themselves. I really feel God’s kingdom alive in me, in this church, and in what I offer to this world.
In spite of the uncertainty and chaos that is coming in 2018, I know that by loving God, my neighbor, and myself, God’s kingdom will be around all of us. So I’m increasing my pledge next year. I will keep on looking for ways to put God’s love in action everywhere I go. I’m surrendering to God. Thank you all, women and men, for being here for me and with me. I’m glad to be on this journey with you.