Faces of First Christian Church - Gracelyn
This is the first in a series of stories about members of First Christian Church. We hope this will help you to get to know members of your church family better.
If anyone’s name ever described their personality it would have to be Gracelyn Jack. She is full of grace.
Spending your senior year in high school isolated during a world-wide pandemic is a fork in the road not many teenagers would be able to navigate well. The many milestones missed, the separation from friends and teachers, the unfairness of it all might be cause for self-pity or anger. That’s not the case for Gracelyn. Express any sympathy for her senior situation and she very nonchalantly tells you she’s just, “rolling with the punches.” She says, “This is my life now. What can you do?”
What Gracelyn is doing is looking forward. Her eyes are firmly focused on adventures to come. She’s not looking back at what might have been. This fall, the North Oldham Senior will be a Wooster College freshman in Ohio. The 18-year-old clarinet player will major in music composition. Besides diving into more of her favorite classical jazz she’ll also be joining the marching band wearing the school’s trademark kilt. About the kilts she says, “I think that’s coolest thing ever.”
Along with the required college equipment of textbooks, new bedding and meal tickets, Gracelyn will also be taking a lifetime of memories from First Christian Church. She’s been a member since she was very young and is dedicated to the church, the youth program and the people she has met within the sanctuary walls.
She remembers her middle school years feeling awkward and having issues of self-confidence. She says all that seemed to fall away on Sunday evenings at youth group. “Everyone there knows your name and knows who you are. They are happy you are there,” she says.
Gracelyn’s First Christian experience, her maturity and her levelheadedness are just a few reasons she was selected to be on the search committee for FCC’s new senior minister.
She says, “I’m really learning a lot and I want to see what I can learn from them (other search committee members).”
Of the new pastor she says she’s looking for open communication and a personal connection as well as a spiritual connection.
FCC’ s open table concept is of utmost importance to Gracelyn.
In fact, she lives into the open table concept so much that when a gay friend told her the church she attended made it clear she couldn’t be gay and Christian, Gracelyn told her she knew a church that would accept her with open arms. As proof, Gracelyn sent her friend a sermon by Reverend Caitlin Simpson in which Caitlin talks about her journey as a gay woman and acceptance in Christianity.
Gracelyn’s next steps to college and beyond will be filled with music composition, her love of hiking and her new-found quarantine hobby of refinishing furniture. With each step she takes there will be a piece of what our church has given her – the ability to move in the right direction and share our message with grace.