Courtney Joseph

Youth Sunday Senior Sermon

Hi Everyone, I’m Courtney Joseph, Bringing it home!

When I look back at the past 18 years in my life, three places I hold most dear to my heart are hovered with school, Homers, and Kenilworth Union Church. Church has been like a second home for me as I grew up in this community. I specifically remember all those chaotic Sunday mornings, that consisted of my mother quickly putting patent leather shoes on my younger sister and me, and my father trying to teach my brother how to tie his own tie, but giving up quickly and just tying it up himself. All that hurry just to get a good seat and at the chapel so we can sit and listen to Dr. Bowen speak about something I didn’t understand yet.

Those sugar cookies and lemonade definitely help make up coming back and listen. As I grew from little girl to young adult, Kenilworth Union has always been there for me. I felt comfortable and loved as I got to develop my faith through the confirmation process. I will never forget looking out at this congregation as we heard announced that we were official members at the Church and feeling the overwhelming sense of love and community that the people of Kenilworth Union exude.

IMPACT mission trips have been some of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in my life so far. I am so thankful to have the opportunity for one last trip to Guatemala this summer. I have always been the kind of person that learns best by doing and these mission trips have taught me so much about God’s love and light throughout our lives by doing good for people in need.

One specific memory I have that really solidified my faith in God’s love was last summer in the Bahamas. My group and I, who were called the Trail Blazers, were working on rebuilding a wall around the local pastor’s home. We’d only been a couple hours into the day when it began to downpour. It was raining so hard that within seconds everyone was soaking wet and we all had to take shelter under that tiny patio of the shed. We all waited for any hope of the weather passing, but time went on and it kept pouring rain. I felt so much sadness for the pastor and his family because they needed our service to make their home sturdy and safe. The rain was preventing us from doing that.

I thought about how unlucky this weather was. I was angry that this family couldn’t catch a break on any type of struggle. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a little voice begin to sing, and then another. I turned to my right to see the pastor’s two little boys singing this hymn about God’s love and how strong it is and how they love him.

Although, I don’t remember the specific words of the song now, I remember their little voices and the sound of rain coming together in perfect harmony just as the moment was yesterday. In that moment I realized just how incredible God’s love can be. Even though this family had been down on their luck for so long, they kept faith in God and knew that as long as he loves, they will be alright. I’ll keep this lesson in me as I go on to college next year and for the rest of my life as well.

Kenilworth Union Church has been such a blessing in my life. I can’t wait to come back every vacation to feel the sense of community and love again. And, of course, for the cookies too.