Paul and Amy Halliday

tn_a78d1f4a8b19f666d50790574e54f88d_1446569212As we left after the 10:30 service recently, one of our college-age boys said, “I’m not sure what I think about God, but I have faith in the people of St. Paul’s. Sarah, Audi, so many others—I’d trust them with my life!” Like our children, we may struggle with what we think of God. This is why we live with our doubts and hopes, fears and joys, in a loving community. That’s certainly what our three boys have known ever since they can remember. We came to church our first Sunday in town, left them in the nursery, and quickly discovered the difference St. Paul’s would make in our lives. In the hundreds of Sundays that followed, the boys went to Sunday school, came back for SPISH, did a few car washes, and took trips from Atlanta to Africa to New Orleans with their friends and the best mentors imaginable. They went to Shrine Mont, ate too much fried chicken, and laughed along with Mary Welby’s songs. They saw people’s struggles and attended the funerals of people they had learned to love. They sat cross-legged at the font and watched plenty of baptisms; they heard the birthday prayer and knew who would comfort them when discouraged or sorrowful. They felt the beauty of a candle-lit Easter vigil. Sometimes, on a Sunday afternoon, one of them might walk around the house humming a hymn tune, entirely unaware that was what he was doing. They sat next to dear friends in church—sometimes they whispered with each other during the sermon. They received the Eucharist. They saw life up close, its challenges, its little wonders that only hit them upon reflection. They learned that it takes a parish to raise a child. So did we.