Jessica Johnson

I have always felt unconditionally accepted and valued at Ashby Congregational Church. Raised in a Catholic family in California and experiencing many different churches as I moved with my husband, Matthew, while he served in the US Marine Corps, I was used to feeling like a solitary individual in a community of believers. At Ashby Congregational Church, I feel connected to the other members. When I moved to Ashby, I was 4 months pregnant with Benjamin and did not know anyone except Matthew’s family. You can imagine my surprise when one Sunday afternoon, dressed in sweatpants and slippers, I was greeted by 50 ladies including new friends from church and the community for a surprise baby shower! I felt so accepted and loved.

I enjoy the opportunity to be involved in our church through Sunday School, fundraisers, concerts, community meals, bible study, vacation bible school and children’s activities. I feel like the church encourages me with my talents and supports me through my challenges.

The McNeils

For several years and many reasons, we searched for a new church home. Although we were hesitant to leave Catholicism, we were open-minded about what church might be the best fit for our family. Ashby Congregational Church was recommended to us by a few friends. We decided to give it a try and were so pleased to discover that our family had never before felt so welcomed by a church. Not only were the members incredibly friendly, we were encouraged to bring our children and to not hush them. I was pleasantly amazed at what a huge part of this church the children are. We were used to giving them little notebooks and pens to keep them busy and quiet but that was not necessary here. The service was engaging from the start and presented in a way that our kids could understand and follow along. After the first 15-20 minutes, all of the children in church are called to sit at the altar. At that point, one of their peers does a brief reading and Pastor Ken tells a story that is relevant to them. He answers their questions; they answer his. Then the entire church does an "echo prayer" repeating after Pastor Ken. The children are involved in Passing of the Peace and then go downstairs to Sunday School with their friends. After Service and Sunday School, we enjoy refreshments during social hour. At this time, many of the kids engage in games while indulging in donuts, fruit, and desserts. The best part of all of this: My daughters actually look forward to going to church now! The sense of community and friendship is something I always imagined church should be but have never experienced until now. I feel so blessed that we found a church that our entire family enjoys being at. It's good to be home!