This Church Holds a Special Place in my Heart

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, May 17, 2020

By: Harrison Holmes, is a Class of 2020 Senior at Freeman High School. He will be attending Virginia Tech in the Fall.

Hi, my name is Harrison Holmes and I joined St. Mary’s in 2013. When I joined, I was 11 years old, immature, and very against leaving my previous church, as all my friends were there. I think at one point I was pleading with my mom in tears to not switch churches. However, over the years I fell in love with this church and the community that coexists within.

This began in Mrs. [Mary] Campbell’s Sunday School class learning about Moses, Abraham, and the rest of the Bible stories. If anyone does not know, Mrs. Campbell is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I credit her in helping me comprehend this faith at such a young age.

After I aged out of Mrs. Campbell’s class, I moved into the youth program. Unfortunately, at the time there wasn’t much of a program or a system for the older kids at church. Ironically, this is where most of my experiences and memories come from. During my second year in the youth program, St. Mary’s hired a bearded fellow by the name of Matt Rawls to become the new Director of Youth Ministries. Matt helped transform the youth program into something special. No longer was the youth building only used for Sunday classes, but rather game nights, themed parties, and sleepovers started occurring there.

However, during this time my faith became a bit uneasy. I think throughout every journey in faith there’s always a part where you question certain aspects. I was experiencing a bit of this and Matt helped to change that mindset. When I got to confirmation, he reorganized the class into more of a discussion and pulled in aspects that appealed to everyone. This helped me relate to him in which helped me better understand what he was teaching.

After confirmation, I continued into the High School youth group. It wasn’t a very big class as there were only about 10 people that showed up regularly. However, my time spent with this group was easily my favorite and most eye-opening. When Matt set up the mission trip to South Dakota I didn’t realize how important it would be to my faith. That week in South Dakota was an experience I will never forget. It was crazy to see another culture and escape the suburban bubble I had been accustomed too. That trip showed me how much we take for granted and how much we need to continue to help and support those who are less fortunate than us.

I have enjoyed spending a good part of my childhood at this church and I will always relish the memories I have made with this community. From getting attacked by kids with water-balloons in South Dakota to almost running out of gas in the middle of the pacific highway; this church holds a special place in my heart and anyone that grows up in this community can relate to that feeling.