28 Feb Love, Kindness and Comfort of Community – Kristen Erickson
Growing up at Good Shepherd as a “PK” (Pastor’s Kid) has been an indescribable blessing. A pivotal moment in my growing up years at church was during my sophomore year in high school (2015) when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Anyone who has had a major health issue like this affect someone they love knows the fear and pain you feel in waiting for results, waiting for appointments you want to come sooner, and waiting for answers.
It wasn’t until then that I fully understood how meaningful being a member of a large faith community was. Hugs and tears were shared, cards came in stacks in the mail, messages piled up in our Facebook and email inboxes, not just for my mom and our family, but many addressed to just me, too. Those kind gestures, even from parishioners I didn’t know too well, meant the world to me and helped me get through that incredibly difficult time.
It was at that time I came to truly appreciate that our congregation wasn’t just made up of nearly 3,000 baptized members, but Good Shepherd was comprised of almost 3,000 people, many of whom have watched me grow up, who care about me, and who love me and my family, even if they don’t know me very well personally.
At the end of August, I will start a new chapter in my academic and faith journey at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.The decision to go to an ELCA-affiliated college, a college that quite a few of our members are alumnus of, was a no-brainer. I can’t think of a better place to continue being a part of a faith community like the one I have been blessed to be born into. Good Shepherd, through my experiences working in youth ministry, volunteering at the Thanksgiving Meal every year, etc. helped guide my decision to begin college as a social work major. Good Shepherd has been instrumental in teaching me how important it is to serve others with God’s guiding hands beyond the walls of the church, and into the surrounding community.