Garland Hamic

April 14th, 2015 · No Comments

Garland Hamic

On your Web site, you proclaimed yourselves to be “a diverse people united in Christ.” I thought, “Yeah right … let’s go see what Baptists consider ‘diversity’ to be.” Like many of you, however, I knew that something profound had happened to me after my first visit to Royal Lane. Having grown up Baptist, it felt familiar in all the right ways, and it felt different in all the right ways. I listened to Ray Vickrey preach a sermon in which he lamented the fact that “too many Christians spend too much time talking about all the sins of all those people out there.” I remember thinking, “FINALLY … a preacher I can do business with!”

Later that week, I sat in Ray’s office and listened to his repeated assurances that I would be welcomed in this place – just as I am. Thank God, he was right. It took me a year and a half to believe him, but he was right. For that, all I can say is “thank you.” Thank you for welcoming me, but more importantly, thank you for all the lessons that I have learned from you: that Christ is to be found in the eyes of every person I meet; that forgiveness is always in order; that helping people is to be instinctive; that God beckons me from just beyond my comfort zone. I have learned to seek spiritual truth without tripping over literal interpretations of scripture. I have learned to hear the voice of God in music and the whisper of the Holy Spirit in contemplative prayer. I have learned that following Christ means getting sweaty and risking myself and loving people who don’t love me back.

Royal Lane is where I grew up, even though I never crossed the threshold until I was already in my 30’s. If I hadn’t found Royal Lane when I did, I’m fairly certain that “church” would still be nothing more than a childhood memory for me. My life has been utterly, immeasurably better because I have been a part of this quirky little church for the last fourteen years. All I have to say about that is: THANKS BE TO GOD!

Tags: A Royal Story