by James Aldinger
Each one of us has a unique story of what brought us to Calvary. For me, I was 35 years old when I started attending Calvary. At that time, my parents had both been diagnosed with Dementia, and my life was turned upside down because I became their primary caregiver at such a young age. My spiritual life was pretty much dead at that time. But, my heart kept telling me that I needed a spiritual home to be able to make it through those difficult times that I was confronted with.
My family was brought up in the United Methodist Church, but I knew at that point that it was no longer a good spiritual fit for me. I visited the Episcopal Church throughout my college days for Christmas and Easter, and also attended other services with friends. So, as I began my church search, I visited many Episcopal congregations in the Memphis area. I kept coming back to Calvary. I knew it was the place for me because of the dynamic clergy, an excellent choir, the beauty of the worship space, the traditions of the parish, the numerous spiritual development opportunities, their focus on social justice, and most importantly the friendly and caring parishioners that supported and loved one another. Calvary has remained a relevant and essential part of my life as I have matured. I have grown so much spiritually at every stage of my life at Calvary.
As I have grown as a parishioner, I have also become more engaged and part of several ministries at Calvary. I currently serve on the vestry at Calvary and also did so from 2008-2010. I am a member of the Wedding Guild and serve as a Eucharistic Minister. I also volunteer at Room in the Inn. I believe and know that we must give back to that which has given us so much. Calvary is a constant in my life, and I can’t imagine my life without it.
When I first started at Calvary 20 years ago, I made an annual pledge. At that season in my life, I did what I could since I was professionally just starting out. As times changed over the years, I was able to increase my pledge commitment, and I gladly did so knowing what Calvary means to me in my life and to Memphis. I have gained a deeper understanding about the budget for Calvary by serving as a vestry member. Calvary does a great job of ensuring that every dollar given is used to best meet the needs of the parish and community we serve. We have exceptional clergy that all work diligently to make sure they meet the spiritual needs of our congregation and community. The other staff members at Calvary provide leadership and support to ensure that our music and choir, website and publications, food services, buildings and grounds, adult, family, youth and, children’s ministries, Lenten Preaching Series, and outreach and community ministries are all at the highest level of excellence that we have all grown to expect in our beloved parish. All of the wonderful ministries we love at Calvary wouldn’t be possible without our annual pledges. Thanks be to God for Calvary Episcopal Church!