Coun­try Churches

This con­gre­ga­tion em­braced me the mo­ment I stepped through the door­way.

Country - - CONTENTS - BY ELISSA EN­NIS

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.

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