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Known and Loved: Tyson and Katie Wrisley Shelby

November 25, 2019

Stewardship Testimonial:  Tyson and Katie Wrisley Shelby 

When Tyson and I first moved to Boston in 2010 after we graduated college, I was reluctant to be both “known” and “loved” by any Church community other than the one in which I had grown up back in Florida. My father is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and when I was eight years old, we moved to the small town of Celebration—the town that Disney built in the late 90s—because he was called by the PC (USA) to both found and build a Church there. Tyson and I met when we were 14 years old in that Church, where I was confirmed, Tyson was baptized, and my Dad presided over our wedding after we graduated college. We both loved that community with all our hearts, and they loved us back. The wound of leaving it—both when my Dad received a call at another Church during my years in college, and later, when Tyson and I moved to Boston—still cuts deep. 

Retrospectively, one can never be too loved within a Church community, but growing up in that context—a minister’s kid in the town that Disney built—I wonder sometimes if perhaps I was too known. When we first moved to Boston, I wanted nothing more than to attend a Church where I wasn’t known at all after the pain of leaving that Church. I needed the quiet moments on Sunday mornings where I could put aside the noise of the week and simply worship as one who was unknown. We initially stumbled into Trinity because we were curious while “Church-shopping,” and, enraptured by the liturgy, we found that quiet and never left. 

Slowly but surely, the community of the faithful at Trinity gradually invited us deeper—the incredibly dedicated volunteers who serve homeless women and children at Rosie’s Place; the kind clergy who, despite our best efforts to remain anonymous, learned our names anyway; the staff members who invited me to serve as a Lay Eucharistic Minister; and last but certainly not least, some of our closest friends who attend Trinity, other young professionals who have become like family to us in Boston. Trinity is now part of what makes Boston “home” for both of us, an appellation I did not dream of assigning to any other place than Florida when we first moved here.  

We give to Trinity, then, because Trinity is now our Church home, and because our involvement at Trinity has helped us “know” and “love” God, our neighbors in the pews every Sunday, and the city of Boston with a greater depth than we thought possible in 2010. We do not give in order to be known and loved. We give because we have felt the Love of Christ in Boston through this community, and stewardship is a spiritual practice that reminds us that everything we have and everything we are is a “gift from above coming down from the Father of Lights” (James 1:17) through that Love. We will always miss the Church that nurtured us in our youth, but we are endlessly grateful for the community that has embraced us in the Spirit of that Love here, even in spite of ourselves. 

Tyson and Katie Wrisley Shelby, parishioners 

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