by Meagan Holiday
I first learned of St. John the Divine in 2017 through parishioner and friend, Austin Jorn. Austin and I knew each other through attending Camp Capers in the Diocese of West Texas. I had recently moved to Houston and Austin reached out to let me know he and his wife, Lizzie, were attending a young professionals bible study at SJD. I was hesitant to say yes for quite some time (four years to be exact) but Austin and Lizzie continued to gently nudge me towards SJD by always extending an open invitation to the Tuesday night bible study, Genuine Eats, and other events at the church. I distinctly remembered a conversation Austin and I had several years earlier, that had always lingered with me, about the difference between attending church and having community.
In the spring of 2021, I had been walking a particularly difficult season in my life and reached out to Austin and Lizzie for prayer. They continued to reach out and invite me to different events at SJD, and that previous conversation with Austin from years prior about having community kept resurfacing in my head. After years of invitations, I finally said yes to attending The Door Worship Night in June of 2021. I met and connected with several of the young professionals that night who quickly became the community I had been looking for.
The Young Professionals Bible Study has given me a place to call home on Tuesday nights and has continued to welcome me in with open arms. Having this community to dig into scripture with, to pray for one another with, and to walk through life together with has been a bigger blessing in my life than I could have imagined. Experiencing the sense of community that I felt in the Young Professionals Bible Study made me want to get plugged in with other areas of the church.
One of my favorite things that I have been involved with at SJD so far is getting to co-lead the freshman and sophomore girls’ small group on Sunday afternoons with Tori Gilliland. Growing up, I always had an adult I could reach out to through the church that was willing to help guide me when I had questions. Whether it was a camp counselor, confirmation sponsor, or youth leader I always felt supported and encouraged to grow in my faith. My hope for our girls’ small group has been that the girls feel the same sense of community I have experienced in the Young Professionals Bible Study, and that they have a safe place where they can feel comfortable asking questions about their faith and all that life may bring them. Sunday after Sunday the girls continue to amaze me with the thoughtful questions they ask and the feeling of community they surround each other with in the group.
SJD has absolutely surpassed my expectations of what it is like to have a community walk alongside you in your faith. I am forever grateful for Austin and Lizzie inviting me to come and embrace what I did not realize I was missing.
Do you know a young adult who needs community as Megan described? Invite them to the Young Professionals Tuesday Bible Study! Email Tori Gilliland for more information.