Sunday, May 03, 2009

River Ridge Church

It's been about seven years since my friend Matt Santen and his wife (along with a few other folks) moved from Morgantown to Charleston, WV to start a church in the West Virginia state capital. And today marks the first day I have been able to attend the Sunday morning worship time. It was doubly cool because my old roommate, Ben Tuel was leading worship as I walked in. I don't think I had ever heard him play guitar or sing before, so it was a pretty cool experience that way too.

I've been sleeping at Matt and his family's house each night when I leave the hospital. As Matt leaves to drop his kids off for school or to go to soccer practice, or whatever he's got going on, he or his wife drop me off at the hospital, where I spend my day with my dad. I'm extremely grateful for the fact that the Santen's have provided me with lodging each night, and been so accommodating with getting me to the hospital. (My car is still in Morgantown, so in some ways I'm stranded and dependent on the support of others. Of course this is totally ok--we can grow dependent on the autonomy that a car gives us, and that dependency may be more detrimental to our spiritual growth than it is helpful).

As I sat among the church, I couldn't help but think about the way God has been shaping all of our lives over the years. Ben and I became Christians around the same time. Matt used to be a Younglife leader in Morgantown, and then went on to be a pastoral intern at Chestnut Ridge Church back when I first started working for GCM. Now God has Ben and Matt (along with a few other peeps) leading a steadily growing church that has planted a second church in Teays Valley since it's inception.

I was also able to connect with another Morgantown friend who was transplanted to Charleston, Eric Crutchfield. Eric actually took me back to the hospital after church, but not before stopping at a hardee's to get my dad a thickburger. (I know what you are thinking, thickburgers and 4-way bypasses don't mix. Actually, you are right, but for the next month, they want my dad to eat anything he likes, just so he eats and gets his strength back).

If you live in the Charleston, WV area, and you are looking for a church, you should definitely check out River Ridge. I think you will love the community, the messages, and the worship. It's a pretty cool group of people.

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