crossing the tiber: September 2005 Archives

my conversion story part one

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I don't remember exactly the first time I realized that not all Christians worshipped the same way that I did. Maybe I was 8 or so? But I know that there were incidents and influences from my very early life that pulled me towards my eventual reception into the one, holy, and apostolic church.

I was born to a teen couple. My parents met in the church choir of All Saint's Episcopal church in San Diego CA. My dad was a cradle Episcopalian, his birth dad was raised German Lutheran and his stepfather was a non-practicing Methodist and also a Mason. His mom (my grandmother) was for decades the first grade teacher at All Saint's Parish day school. My mom's heritage was mostly Southern Baptist with a smattering of Mormon (including a collateral relative to Brigham Young) and there was one Catholic who left my mom her rosary when she died. My mom was baptized at All Saints around the age of 13, and later confirmed Episcopalian by the Bishop of San Diego. My parents were married at All Saint's also. I was baptized into the Episcopalian church as an infant. My godmother was raised Russian Orthodox, but apparantly this was not a problem in her becoming my godmother.

When I was 18 months old, my dad finished college under his ROTC scholarship and began his active duty in the Air Force. This meant that my mom and I went to go live with his mom for a while. For the first 15 years of my life, I came to regard my paternal grandmother's home as my permanent home while we moved all over the place for my dad's career in the Air Force. For example, I remember going to the Nursery School at All Saint's when I was three. When I was 3 1/2 years old, my mom took me and my one year old brother and flew from San Diego CA to London England, and then took the train to Hunstanton, to rejoin my dad who was assigned to RAF Sculthorpe. I can only imagin what it was like for 20 y/o mom to take a two toddlers, one still in diapers, on a trip that long by herself. I know that in England we attended Church of England services, and I remember that my sister who was born there (just before my 5th birthday) was baptized there. I can still remember the dress she wore for her baptism - white organdy with red embroidery. I remember Bible stories at the local church, and I remember going to Vacation Bible School on the AF base as well. Two Bible stories that I specifically remember from that time are Zaccheus in the tree, and the Ascension into Heaven. At VBS we glued cotton wool onto paper to make the clouds for the Ascension. I also remember the book I had of stories from the Bible - I read it over and over. By the time I was 6 I had a pretty good timeline of the Bible and its teachings.

When we returned from England, I was 6 1/2 years old. I ended up living for a year with my grandparents so that I could go to school and not lose any of the learning I had acquired in England. I was in the second grade at All Saint's. I remember that we went to church every morning. We lined up in our classrooms and processed across the alley to the church building, and as we entered the church we genuflected 2 by 2 to the clicks of the Anglican sisters little mechanical frogs. Every morning but one it was morning prayer, with two bible readings (OT and Epistle), a psalm or two (chanted, of course) and a canticle (usually the Te Deum - chanted) and often a hymn or two as well. One day a week there was also a Holy Communion service. Only the older classes, who had been confirmed and who were willing to skip breakfast, went to communion.
The school had a few Anglican nuns who taught religion, and who every day led us in saying the Angelus. In many ways it was a more "Catholic" education than that of my husband, the cradle Catholic.

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This page is a archive of entries in the crossing the tiber category from September 2005.

crossing the tiber: December 2005 is the next archive.

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