Michael & Joy Miller
Spiritual Refuge and Spiritual Growth
St. Paul’s is a welcoming, warm community which offers spiritual refuge for us. Michael grew up in Murfreesboro and attended various Church of Christ congregations in Rutherford County. Joy grew up in Lebanon, Tennessee, and attended a variety of churches from Anglican, Episcopal, non-denominational, Baptist, and Presbyterian denominations. We met in 2013 as students at MTSU and became instant friends. We parted ways to attend graduate school—Michael went to Miami, Florida, and Joy to London, England. We got back in touch after four years and Joy moved to Miami. We started attending St. Bede’s Episcopal Church on the campus of the University of Miami and loved the atmosphere, the encouragement from the congregation, and the priest.
In 2018, we got married and decided to move back to Murfreesboro to be closer to our families while we started a family of our own. We visited several churches to see which one would be a good fit. St. Paul’s was the third church we visited, and from the first moments, we were welcomed by so many people. Pam and Rick Burcham talked to us after the service and asked if they could make name tags for us for the next Sunday. We were overcome by how friendly, and intentional everyone was about greeting us and wanting us to come back. So we did, and we’ve kept coming back ever since!
St. Paul’s means a lot to us and has been a place of spiritual growth. Throughout our youth, we found the church environments we were a part of to be toxic. We often felt more hatred than love coming from the church pews, and therefore we both spent time away from the church in our twenties. As we began our spiritual journey at St. Paul’s, we started attending Pilgrimage in the fall of 2018. Even though we had attended Episcopal churches and were familiar with some of the liturgy, we learned more about the church history and the “why” we believe what we believe. This made us fall more in love with St. Paul’s as we realized that the church is a community of believers who are open to learning from each other, including listening to spiritual ideas from other denominations and faiths. We’ve come to see that St. Paul’s is a place where we are a family with different viewpoints and can agree to focus instead on our communities and how to demonstrate Jesus’ love to the greater community by banding together.
Because of the love we found here, Joy decided to get confirmed in June 2019 (Michael was confirmed at St. Bede’s in Miami). We give to St. Paul’s because we truly believe in all the great work being done through the outreach programs. Michael also loves that St. Paul’s offers contemplative opportunities and is actively involved in Oasis and Centering Prayer. These contemplative ministries allow him to connect with God on a more personal level which helps influence his daily life.
- WORSHIP—11 a.m. service
- SERVE—Pilgrimage, Oasis, Centering Prayer
- GIVE—We give because we truly believe in the great work being done in the outreach programs