God has never come to me dramatically with trumpets, flaming tongues or descending doves but quietly, over time, in the love of family, teachers and friends. I was a “Cradle Roll” baby in a small Baptist church in the segregated South. The first born child of Christian parents who were there every time the doors were open, I heard Bible stories and learned to give thanks before meals and pray before bedtime. I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and felt safe and loved. My world was small and faith seemed easy.
I also sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” but before sixth grade I had never had friends of a different race, culture or religion. The world turned out to be much bigger than I had thought. I also had friends who were rejecting their religion. I began to read about other religions and question some of my own beliefs about God, who was also much bigger than I had thought. I wondered “What else is true?”
When our family moved to Louisville, finding a “church home” was a priority. On our first visit to Broadway Mom and Dad were greeted by Duke McCall, whom they had known as Furman University students and Mrs. Ellis Fuller, whose husband had been pastor of Mom’s home church in Greenville, South Carolina. They immediately decided this must be a good place!
During my teens and early adult years I felt blind-sided by the war in Viet Nam. I learned that experiencing the pain of loss was part of life. Whether by war, illness, accident, murder, suicide or old age, each death of someone I loved has brought great grief that could only be comforted by the assurance that God cares.
A great professor taught me that art is about learning to see. A great church taught me that faith is about learning to see God.
Looking back I believe that God has been with me all my life, whether or not I was aware of that presence. At Broadway I have been challenged to study and think deeply about important questions. I am blessed by reverent worship and wonderful music. I am strengthened by spending time with people who love me and inspire me to greater service. Broadway is where I spoke my wedding vows and brought up my children. It is where I am most aware of God’s love. It is where I sense the spirits of my parents and many special people who have meant the most to my life. For more than fifty years, Broadway has been home.
Claudia Clarke Wells