Pili Gill and Trevour Jackson-Carpenter were confirmed on Pentecost Sunday, May 15 at Luther Place. All seven confirmands helped create and lead the service. Pili and Trevour shared the following reflections with the community. Congratulations to Pili and Trevour!
I’ve heard the word grace for the past 14 years of my life. I mean, its Luther Place! Is there ever a service without the word grace?
I’ve only felt its effects twice. My mom once told me that she felt God’s grace through my dog, Lagun. We adopted Lagun in 2010, when he was about nine years old, from the Arlington Shelter. At first she objected to taking him in, until she finally met him (she was on a business trip when my dad and I brought him home). He instantly started to favor my mom. She went on to say that “he had no reason to favor me, and I certainly didn’t show him much affection, and yet he still showed me he loved in his own way.” At that moment I had an epiphany. When we feel God’s grace, we don’t spontaneously look up and say “I’ve been blessed!” There is no beam of Heavenly light that descends from the sky with a trumpeting fanfare. It’s more like we sometimes realize it after the moment passes.
Like I said before, I’ve only felt it twice. Surprisingly the first one was back during the summer of 2015, when I was sharing a quiet moment with a horse called Katchina, in Colorado. I had just gotten back from a trail ride and she just stood and stared at me. I felt this connection with her, like we could read each other’s minds, like we were of the same species. The second one happened not too long ago, while I was performing Glory with my school’s choir at our spring concert. I was enough to land one of the rap solos. So I stood there, with the mic in my hand, and was overcome by this feeling of frustration, like I could actually feel what the Suffragettes felt. So I started rapping and I just put as much feeling in to it as I could. And then I realized I was totally off beat. My point is that, however it comes, grace is always a gift. A free gift out of God’s love for us.
In the spirit of grace, I’d like to thank a few people, starting with my mom, who’s probably going through her second box of Kleenexes. Thanks for making my come to class, and making sure that I got here, on time and with my binder and a box of munchkins. Gracias, Aita, por no darme una patada por el culo cuando me porto mal. Thanks PK, for putting up with my sassy responses at the children’s sermons when I was 10. And for not making church just another thing that my mom made me come to. Thanks Justin, for the music and for putting up with my sarcastic comebacks. Thanks Krista, for reminding me not to say the Lord’s name blasphemously and for bringing candy to class. Oh, and for teaching confirmation. Thanks Ele, Sarah, Aidan, Caroline and Benny for debating about the most random things possible and also for Jesus Wi-Fi. Thank you Marina and Trev, for dealing with my rants and giving me advice. The reason this journey was so fun is because of you guys (and Krista and Justin and Starbucks). To the congregation, for being accepting and all-around awesome people. And finally, to my parents, for putting up with me for 14+ years, but mostly cause I can’t thank you enough.
Good Morning to my Luther Place Family, and I am so proud and happy for this day. Today I am no longer a Luther Place kid, but a Luther Place adult member. I have been a Luther Place kid since I was 17 months old. My mom searched others churches: but what was more important was what happened after the worship ended and when the service began. So, on Epiphany Sunday 2003, we found our church home. On Memorial Day weekend 2005, my brother Shaun and I were baptized. Today almost 11 years to the day, I am affirming my journey as a Christian-Lutheran.
Luther Place is my home and I love it! When we were baptized, my mom said she looked up and the Holy Spirit had touched everyone. Pastor Bob, Vicar Robin, my dad and Godmother were all tearing up. What was more amazing was, as they poured the Holy water on my head, I did not make a sound. This was a big deal, as most of you know I am on the Autistic Spectrum. At that time, I did not talk and I had many sensory issues. Back then, a big sensory issue was getting water on my face and for some reason on my baptismal day, I didn’t fuss or fight. The Spirit was with us! She was with us indeed!
I stayed in the nursery with Ms. Bea Jackson a little longer than the others did, but I finally made it to Sunday school. I love Sunday school, Confirmation and youth group!
I have had some personal challenges recently as I found out I am not accepted into Duke Ellington
School. Instead, I am going to E L Haynes and I am going to work hard there. I will also continue to work hard at the DC Youth Orchestra and with my tutor. My mom loves this song called “Optimism” and like how it says, “I may be down sometimes, but I won’t be down always” so that is how I look at it.
I am going to end, but before I do, I want to thank my family. Thank you for praying for me, helping me and just being there for me. Today I am in the StLuthRef youth group and I am volunteering to help next year’s Confirmands because the last 2 years have been the best and I refuse to leave!
Thank you to my Luther Place Aunties: Kate, Kathryn, Krista, Kristen and of course Pastor Karen. Thank you to Mr. Don, Kirk and Justin. You are the uncles I have not had. My fellow Confirmands and Youth Group members, you are my special brothers and sisters in Christ and I care, love and appreciate you so much. You have always treated me so well and have been so understanding, thank you! This church is the best and I am so grateful for that Epiphany Sunday back in 2003.