This congregation embraced me the moment I stepped through the doorway.
An Ontario church family welcomes Elissa Ennis to small-town living.
Eight years ago I moved to the small town of Winchester, Ontario. I fell in love with this place but was missing the church I’d left behind.
I went to work at the hospital, where I met a co-worker who offered to take me to her church.
The next Sunday, off we went. I walked into St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dunbar and immediately felt at home. I was welcomed with open arms, and the pastor, Joachim Barkley-Probst, and his wife, Sandra, included me in the service by introducing me to the congregants and thanking me for attending.
Fast forward to today: St. Luke’s has connected me with the Lord and given me my church family. When someone is unwell, going through some financial hardship or celebrating a special event, the congregation is there to help.
Joachim is more than our pastor. He and Sandra are our friends who help create a familial atmosphere. Joachim delivers sermons that go straight to the heart.
Sandra is our organist and has the most amazing singing voice. The only time I can say she faltered while playing the organ was when a ladybug landed on the keys!
St. Luke’s Church hosts baby showers, an annual potluck and meetings. I often stop for a minute or two and watch the hustle and bustle of everyone setting up tables and chairs and putting out enough food to feed an army. Interspersed with all this activity is plenty of warm conversation and laughter. We are truly a family.
My husband, Tom, and I were married in St. Luke’s. It was a small gathering that included our friends and relatives, which makes the church even more special to us.
Every February, Tom and I host “Soupfest.” We provide the soup, and guests bring sandwiches and dessert. It’s our way of enjoying the fellowship of our loved ones and chasing away the winter blahs. We always have a wonderful time.
In this day and age, small churches like ours are slowly closing their doors. But St. Luke’s endures, thanks to an especially generous gift from one beloved congregant we affectionately call Uncle Graham.
If your travels should ever bring you to Dunbar on a Sunday morning, please stop in and say hello. You will be welcomed!
Pastor Joachim and wife Sandra, Elissa’s husband Tom Kenyon, and Lynn Allison (left to right) enjoy Soupfest. Inset: St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.