Good morning, my name is Steven Suomi. I am usually accompanied to church by my wife, Joanna and our two children, Anja and Soren. A little over eight years ago, Joanna and I decided to move to the North Shore from Jamaica Plain. When we got here we decided that we would tour a series of churches to decide where we would make our new spiritual home.
The plan was to visit a different church every week through the fall of 2007 and make our decision after we had sampled all the available options. Our destination that first week was Ascension. I have not seen a single other church on the North Shore.
The decision to continue to come to AMC was easy and natural enough; however trying to explain in words why we made that decision is the part that isn’t so easy.
I teach English at Governor’s Academy, and one of our vocabulary words this past week was “ineffable” and that seems to be where I am. How do you explain why you feel at home someplace? How do you explain the deep connection you feel with a place and a group of people? I would like to say that the qualities of AMC are ineffable and call it good. However, I promised Don Cheney and Brad that I would take a whack at being a bit more expressive, so I guess I should keep going.
Early on in our Ascension experience, it was just Joanna and I coming. What we found here was a community that welcomed us unconditionally. There was no initiation process either formal or informal. We felt as though we were part of this body immediately.
Certainly, the building, the choir, and Brad were all appealing, but it was the community that kept us coming back. We were tied in, bound to this place by the people who gathered here each weekend.
Ascension took on a new dimension for us when we had our daughter Anja in the spring of 2009 and then our son Soren in the spring of 2012. For all of you who have tried to make it through an hour long church service with young children, you know the inherent challenges involved. However, everyone here have made it so that we never felt uncomfortable; we never felt marginalized. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to see all of you take an interest in our children and to let us know – or at least think – that all that noise coming from the back is a joy rather than a distraction.
We made the decision to baptize both of our children here, and that decision has proven to be a good one. While the water may have welcomed them into the faith, it is the people of Ascension who have welcomed them into this church, and for that, I am forever grateful.
In the end, I think back to our search for a spiritual home. That is what we have found here in all the best senses. As with all good homes, we have grown to fit it, while it has also morphed to fit us. AMC always seems to be able to accommodate someone else while it still maintains that which makes it AMC.
In the end of Robert Frost’s poem “Hyla Brook”, he states that “we love the things we love for what they are”. For me, perhaps that is the best way to think about this place and all of you. It is what you are and who we are becoming that keeps us coming back. Thanks.