How long have you been attending services here?
I have been attending since September 2019.
Are you a life-long Episcopalian?
Yes, I have been a member of the Anglican Church in Kenya since birth.
What is your previous church experience, if any?
I went to church as a child, I was baptized as an infant, went to Sunday school, confirmed at 12, actively engaged in children and youth activities, and continued to be actively involved as an adult.
How did you find Heavenly Rest?
I google searched Episcopal churches in Abilene, found two; Church of Heavenly Rest and St. Marks, sent email to the clergy in both and decided whoever responds that is where I will go. And Fr. David and Mtr. Claire responded, and also facilitated my coming to church the first time (sent me Uber gift card). When I came, I joined the new members class where I found warm and loving people and made friend., I also met afternoon congregation members who welcomed me. I found family here and this became home.
What would you want to tell others about Heavenly Rest to encourage them to come and explore our parish?
I would tell others to just come and have an experience, I am sure you will love being here, especially joining the new member class where you begin to know people, make friends and get to know more about the church (both the parish and Episcopal tradition). There are many ministry opportunities. They can find something to do that matches their area of gifting. When I came I found an opportunity for ministry with the afternoon Swahili congregation, which I love. I would also encourage them to visit the afternoon Swahili congregation which meets every Sunday at 1:00 PM. They will experience the vibrancy, the warmth, worship with Africans Anglicans (visitors will always find a translator), and maybe a whole new way of worshiping God and fellowship with others.
Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of Heavenly Rest – your job, your family, your hobbies.
I am a graduate student at HSU. Most of my time I go to school and work few hours at HSU's PA program as a graduate assistant. I am married to George who just joined me from Kenya and is now attending the new members class. Back in Kenya, I worked for Church World Service, a humanitarian organization working with refugees and other marginalized populations. As a programs person, I developed training materials on specific protection needs and successfully led workshops and training targeting refugees and host communities, facilitated dialogue and ensured strengthened alliances between faith groups, civil societies, and immigrant community. Previously I worked for World Council of Churches - Ecumenical HIV &AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA), the Eastern Africa regional office where the focus was training church leaders and faith communities on effective response to HIV pandemic.