Back to School: From School to Church – a Personal Story

by Diane Strzelecki

Like families in many communities, the Ellis family was unchurched. Today, the family worships at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Batavia, Ill. Corinne Ellis tells her story to Lutheran Witness editor-at-large Diane Strzelecki.

We moved to Batavia four years ago and had planned on sending our son to public school. In fact, that was a big reason we moved. However, we didn’t agree with some issues in the school district. When we heard about Immanuel Lutheran School, we enrolled Jacob in kindergarten there.

At the time, we were not involved with any church. I was raised in the Catholic faith and went to church weekly as a child, but I did not continue to do so as an adult. My husband had never been baptized and did not practice any religion. …

After enrolling Jacob, we learned more about the Lutheran faith and our community, an eye-opening experience for us. …While I fondly remember a few of the priests at my church, I don’t remember having a connected relationship. There was church and then there was school. …

As we attended more Immanuel functions, we realized that we wanted to contribute to and be a part of this outstanding community. In December 2007, after my husband and I finished our Basics of the Faith class, I was confirmed into the Lutheran faith, my husband was baptized, and we became members of the church. It was a very happy day for us. As Pastor Weidler baptized my husband, it was difficult to hold back the tears of joy.

Jacob is now in second grade and our love continues to grow for our school and church. I volunteer in the school library, share Room Parent responsibilities with another mom, and serve as den leader for the second-grade Cub Scouts. I also help with VBS every summer. … We love Immanuel.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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