John and I were married in January 1994 in a Methodist church in Royal Oak. He was Catholic, I was an atheist, so Methodist seemed like a happy medium. And it was the church that my Granny and Great Aunt Edie belonged to. Oh, that poor pastor. I asked him to please use “God” as little as possible in the ceremony. I really did. What a gracious man. I think he really tried to accommodate my request.
Three months later I was working at Franklin Quest in Troy selling Franklin planners. One of my customers came in on a Saturday morning and was showing me how she was using her planner. She had Kensington business cards in her planner and she asked me, “Do you go to church?” I said I was married in a church, but that I didn’t go to church. As we chatted, she said that she had a group of 27 people from her church who were going to see “Phantom of the Opera” in Toronto. Really?
Every church I’d been to was full of grey-haired old ladies trying to get into heaven (or so I thought), and I couldn’t imagine a place with young people who loved “Phantom” as much as I did. I was intrigued. She wrote her name and number on the back of the business card and I called her later that afternoon. John was going fishing the next morning, so I had nothing better to do. I met her at the 11:40 service and was completely blown away.
Not only did Ed Bellaire sing Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (one of my favorite songs), but Dave Wilson spoke about a God-shaped hole in our soul that we try to fill with possessions, food, shopping, perfectionism, all the things I had been pursuing for the first 22 years of my life. Was this what I had been searching for? Jesus? Really?
About a month later, in the bedroom that John and I lived in upstairs at my Mom’s house, I knelt down and prayed, asking Jesus to come into my life, to take over, to lead me and guide me, to be my Lord and Savior.
Fast forward 20 years to last Wednesday night, August 6th, when the K-Rock kids released their brand new, kid-written, kid-performed 6 song CD at Kensington Church in Troy. Our son Joshua was asked to do the greeting that night. And as he spoke these words, I was in awe: “Kensington was started almost 25 years ago, and it was started because a lot of people had given up on church. So, Kensington came together and made the church experience a little different. So now more people are coming to Jesus and getting help around the world because of the generosity of people here at Kensington.”
John and I weren’t going to have kids. I was an emotional mess and John was gone working, hunting or fishing. I wasn’t going to raise a child by myself. John believed in God, but he was very happy with his life. He saw no reason to give his life over to Jesus. But after I accepted Christ as my Savior, I started praying for John. After about 5 1/2 years, John decided that he was done running from God. In December 1999, John decided to turn around let Jesus have his life.
About a year and a half later, John and I were at Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner one night. I said, “I know we’re saving up to buy a cottage up north some day, but who are we going to share the cottage with?” We had both been feeling that maybe the Bacarella family should be more than John, Beth and Mandi the German Shorthaired Pointer. Maybe God had other plans. So, we began praying about expanding our family and God answered. Joshua John Bacarella was born June 14, 2002.
So, as I watched that 12 year old young man say those words last Wednesday night, I realized that he would not be here right now if it weren’t for a church that was started for people who wanted to “make the church experience a little different”.
If you’d like to see last Wednesday’s service, click here. The kids perform for the first 40 minutes of the service. Our little Jordan Rosie is singing and dancing in there too. She wouldn’t be here either. If you haven’t read her story, check it out here: Fresh eyes: Jordan Rose and Dr Chub Andrews. Enjoy!
Find more of Brian’s work at Brian Craig Photography.