Creating a space to belong can start as a simple invitation to church, Bible study, event, coffee, or workshop. Who knows where it may lead! For Dede Gile, it meant becoming a follower of Christ and a deacon at St. Andrew’s.
Her story begins in 1981, when Rev. Dr. William “Flan” Flanagan (who passed away in 2010) joined St. Andrew’s as Minister of Missions and Singles with his wife Christy. Prior to that, they were at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, where he started the Divorce Recovery Workshop (DRW). He then initiated DRW when he came to St. Andrew’s, and led it for more than 25 years. An invitation to DRW from Christy at a baseball game got the ball rolling on Dede’s journey to Christ, and eventually to St. Andrew’s.
Dede explains, “My sister in Colorado Springs attended First Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs when Flan was there and first began DRW. I was divorced in 1991. When my sister came to visit me (in California), we went to an Angels game with Christy, and she told me about DRW. I decided to go and met Flan. This led to attending DRW, and then to Illuminators singles group, and then finally to praying the sinner’s prayer with Flan on Maundy Thursday of 1992. I joined the family of God! I then joined the choir, and eventually became a deacon. The punchline? I’m Jewish!”
It’s amazing how one person’s story can start from the seed of another person obeying God’s leading. From Rev. Flanagan starting DRW and bringing the ministry to St. Andrew’s, to Christy’s invitation at the baseball game and Dede’s acceptance; the journey brought about a positive, profound difference in Dede’s life. This is the beauty of following God and creating space for belonging to occur.
“I never had a relationship with the Lord when I was growing up,” says Dede. “Now, I am His child and have a wonderful, loving church family.”
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