Creating Our Own Journey
Family finds a home with the we-just-moved-here crowd
“ We felt welcome because there are others here who come to this town, like us, often for professional reasons. ” Jeb Keiper, Village Church member
When Jeb Keiper moved his young family from Pennsylvania after accepting a CEO role at a biotech firm, he went about his search for a place to call home much as a seasoned professional might. He and his wife, Sonja, carefully considered different towns, looked around at different churches, and sought advice. Then, he tried Village Church, and reason took a backseat to something else.
“As soon as we got there, you could just feel it that first Sunday,” Jeb recalled. “When we came back, my wife and I talked about it and said, ‘yeah, that feels right.’ There’s just something family about it.”
The decision to return became an easy one when his boys asked: “We’re going to go back next Sunday, right?” Jeb wanted a community for his three young sons as well as for his wife and him.
“I think it’s important for kids to have exposure to different kinds of community. Yes, they have their school community. But they need to see life through different angles, and through faith is one of them.”
Jeb, who was raised in a tradition of faith that imposed more of a top-down structure, says that although he didn’t realize it initially, the Congregational approach is more in line with his view of Christianity. He and his family are enthusiastic about what he sees as the participatory practice of a Congregational church.
“I have never seen a program like this. It is because it is focused on the youth and their ages and cares about the kids. It is a lot more directed by them. It is an immersive and interrogative discussion of faith. It is not dogmatic. It allows that same wrestling with the questions of who we are and our relationship with God.”
Jeb’s enthusiasm for Village Church can turn into a heady reflection of this historic church, established in New England, a cradle of democracy, and its parallels to the formative struggles of the early Christian church. In much the same way, Village Church’s ability to grow into its full potential depends upon the participation of the people, or the body of Christ. To that purpose, Jeb praises the depth of membership strength in addition to pastoral strength.
“Congregational church is hard because it’s not just about showing up on Sunday morning. The call is a different call. Congregational church is work – joyful work.”