Joel and Theresa’s story
When we moved to Pleasanton in 2013, we wanted to find a new church that would be a good fit for ourselves and our three children. We had a first cousin who attended Lynnewood, and we decided to try it out. We weren’t going to go to a church just because a relative went there, but as soon as we attended we were immediately struck by what a warm and welcoming place Lynnewood was. Within the first week after our first visit, Pastor Heather even came to our house to welcome us to the community and ask if we needed anything. We were blown away because even at the much smaller church we attended in Illinois, we’d never had that kind of personal attention.
What was particularly important for us when our children were so young was how accommodating Lynnewood is for parents. Having an infant comfort room in the sanctuary where we could care for a fussy child or breastfeed and still get to see and hear the service was very important. Also, having childcare provided and knowing that our children would have an activity each Sunday made a big difference.
Our children also felt very comfortable at Lynnewood. They were invited to attend some youth activities, and they really enjoyed those, so we knew that this was the right church for us. We decided to have our daughter baptized at Lynnewood, and we became members within six months. We even agreed to portray Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the Lynnewood christmas pageant that year. We remember sitting up in front of the congregation, many of whom we didn’t know that well yet, wearing our costumes with our little baby. To this day, people still remember that we did that and can’t believe that the little baby who was Jesus is so big now!
Not only were we impressed with how friendly and warm the people at Lynnewood were, but we also really appreciated how diverse the congregation was. Lynnewood is very accepting of both people from many different backgrounds and also of different viewpoints. When the pastor says during communion that the table is not Lynnewood’s table, it is the Lord’s table and all are welcome to partake, they truly mean it. Since we are both from the Philippines, we want to make sure that our children stay grounded and appreciate all that they have, while still understanding what life is like for people around the world. We think it’s really important for them to be exposed to many different people and cultures and to understand that no matter what your beliefs are, you should be welcome and respected.
Five years later, we are still very active members and Lynnewood has become a big part of all of our lives. We teach Sunday school and serve on some of the church committees, and all of us have had a chance to participate in several outreach events. One of our sons has been confirmed, and the second is going to be confirmed soon. Our kids serve as ushers and lay leaders in the church, and we’ve had a chance to see them really grow spiritually, which is exactly what we were hoping for. We feel very blessed to have found such a wonderful new home for our family.