Voices of the Congregation: Barb Billington

On Sunday, October 9, 2016, Barb Billington spoke on the topic of gratitude during worship. Here are her remarks.

One question I’ve been pondering this past week since Pastor Victoria extended the invitation to stand before you today is this: when I think of SAPUCC, what am I most grateful for?

The answer is you. When I think of SAPUCC I feel most grateful for the people and this loving community.

I’m grateful for the chance to be in worship each week, to hear God’s word sitting in these pews surrounded by you.

I’m grateful that each week when I come to church seeking peace and patience, I find it here; even if it only lingers for a little while. I know I can find it again in moments of prayer.

I’m grateful for the restful heart and peace of mind that come when I worship here.

I’m grateful for communal prayer and moments of silence, for that is one time when I feel close to God.

I’m grateful for the many opportunities to learn about the divine, about the Bible, and about my relationship with God. This is a good place for my spiritual journey.

I’m grateful for Adult Education and Children and Youth Ministries at this church because there are NO pre-reqs(!) and NO homework(!), and I always learn something, each and every week.

I’m grateful that my children, Madie and Connor, have had the incredible learning opportunities we offer to youth here at SAPUCC from Godly Play to Our Whole Lives and Confirmation.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to see the beauty of God’s creation at Pilgrim Point Family Camp and the learning it inspires.

My husband Mark and I first started attending this church because we wanted a place where our children could learn the word of God and nurture their own spiritual connection with the divine. And in this community we found incredible support, love and a shared sense of Christian values, social justice and living in Covenant with one another.

And this may sound corny … but I’m grateful that I have the chance to sing hymns, in this space, surrounded by your voices. Music has always been an important part of my life, I’ve played piano since I was a child and sang in the junior choir and played in school band. Singing hymns (and singing in the Sanctuary Choir) allows me to share moments of making music with others.

My grandmother was a church organist for more than 50 years in Watertown, South Dakota. On the rare occasion, my sister and I would go to church with Grandma on Saturday mornings. And we’d lay on the floor next to the pipe organ while she practiced. We watched her feet dance and were permeated by the sounds of her music and hymnody.

All of this gratitude translates into my desire to serve this church in a variety of ways, to support the church financially, and to say yes, when asked to step up and share my story.

Thanks be to God … and thanks to all of you for nurturing this community of faith each and every time you step foot in the door, and saying yes to your own invitations to serve.

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