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SK: You’re going on a cross-country trip from West Virginia to Washington State. What prompted this move?
Erika: We have wanted to leave this area for a long time. When the derecho that came through the northeast dropped a tree on our room, I felt an energy shift in our lives. This may sound crazy, but the very day that it happened I felt God talking to me. It was time for a change. The hole in the roof was a door to a new life.
"The idea for this project began to take shape as the Holy Spirit led us forward."
We went to stay at our church after that. I probably went through a gallon of holy water in the two months that passed. I prayed for an opportunity to change our lives, I offered God my complete willingness to give my all to any opportunity to which I was led. When our friend in Washington State offered us the tiny house in her backyard, I knew the time had come. The idea for this project began to take shape as the Holy Spirit led us forward.
The Spirit is still leading. Those who are involved in this can see that this is going somewhere, but there are still details yet to be revealed. We are running on faith. I don't feel like the originator of this project, but more like the facilitator. It feels fantastic to be part of this. It is my hope that all those people out there who long for a faith community but feel like they would never be accepted as they are will give the Episcopal Church a try.
It is different. It really is. The focus is on peace and justice, on the pure message of Christ. All the rest of the stuff that keeps people away from church just isn't there. I couldn't believe it myself. I can't believe more people don't know about this. Hopefully, after this project, they will.
SK: Tell me about St. Ann’s.
Erika: St. Ann's, like many Episcopal churches, has a long rich history and a shrinking congregation. The parish house, which was the original church building, was built in 1881. We have two priests, Lisa and Richard Heller. Lisa is also a veterinarian. It was through their teaching that I came to learn about the essence of the Episcopal Church. When they answer my questions, I feel closer to God instead of farther away. I am so grateful to them.
St. Ann's has its own personality, its own presence. I have been nourished by the energy of St. Ann's. The beauty of the church and the lessons I have learned from Lisa and Richard have transformed my life. In the warmth of her soft light, the seeds of a new life were planted. We will be watering them as we grow in faith and fellowship on this fantastic voyage.