30 Days of Stories: Day 26
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re telling 30 stories of God’s faithfulness in and through Fellowship North. You can read all the stories here.
My family has been attending Fellowship North since I was 2 months old, when my parents moved back to Arkansas from Gresham, Oregon. My twin sister, Amy, and I are turning 30 at the end of this month…so, that gives you a hint at how long ago that was. My parents, Tony and Laura McGhee, befriended Dave & Audrey Stout while in Oregon. The Stouts moved back to Arkansas to help start Fellowship North. When my parents returned, Fellowship North was one of their first stops, with 1 toddler (my older sister, Dani) and two infants in tow.
My earliest memories of Fellowship North include (but are certainly not limited to): Psalty, the singing songbook at the YMCA (conveniently, and I must say brilliantly, portrayed by my Dad); helping Dad set up chairs in the gym & having our preK sunday school in the girls locker room at the ‘Y’; the move to our current building; weekend camping trips at Lake Ouachita; Amy and I being baptized by Craig when we were 8 years old; first-century potlucks; Donna Hall leading worship for VBS (“Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” = classic); leading preK worship via cassette tape with Rhonda Eubanks; building extensive faith and trust through our first backpacking trip to Colorado after 7th grade (Bryan Jones recently wrote about this); countless Castle Bluff trips and countless hugs.
As an almost-30-year-old, I find that certain memories regarding Fellowship North pull at my heartstrings because they are deeply ingrained in who I am. One of the most valuable gifts that I’ve received in my years at Fellowship North is the gift of community. Early on, I learned through observation that community is important for your soul (whether I could always put that in words, or not). My parents were involved in a few different community groups over the years. They would host group at our house which was such a gift for me and my sisters. We were able to see life being lived out…together. We watched my parents living life alongside the Stout’s, the Wenger’s, the Heffingtons, the Dennys, the Cabreras, the Waldens, the Alexanders, the Loibners, the Halls, Prissy, the Scherzes, the Gays, the Lambs, the Housmans, the Joneses, Esther, Tanja, Deborah, the Erwins, the Boultinghouseses and countless other people. What a gift.
I’ve learned so much, especially in retrospect, as an adult, from the commitment that my parents and countless other adults in our church have made to each other….to struggle with truths together, to support each other through trials, to celebrate milestones together, to be a part of each others’ families, to seek each other out when one of the flock has strayed. In my late teens and early twenties, I explored other avenues of spirituality. I replaced the Truth with non-truths. I replaced God with Me. However, it wasn’t long (ok…some might say it was long…) before I was drawn back to the sense of community found in a relationship with God and with others through Him. Now, I am part of a community group and am also a part of intimate small groups with women and students. I’ve learned to live life with others in the same ways that my parents and other adults in our church modeled for me and my sisters.
We were designed to live in community, in meaningful relationships with others, because our God is a relational God. And Fellowship North is a relational church.
Erin grew up in North Little Rock and married her sweet, Andrew Calaway, in November 2012. She has attended Fellowship North for almost 30 years with her family. Erin currently works for the Thea Foundation as the Program Director for Arkansas A+ Schools, an organization that transforms schools by furthering creativity in teachers and students through quality professional development (can you tell this is the mission statement?). Erin and her husband, Andrew, have two dogs, Tennessee and Sophie, and are the proud aunt and uncle of the Harrison clan (Abe, Sam and Simone). Team Calaway loves to travel, which is a good thing considering they will be trekking across the country multiple times over the next 3 years to visit the Harrisons.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, Erin really likes using commas and semi-colons.