How Glenn Made the Bond Between Two High School Friends Stronger

This Spring, we are featuring a new series on interesting, funny, and round-a-bout ways people have discovered this community of faith called "Finding Our Way: Stories of Discovering Glenn." Read the first one here.

How did you come to call Glenn home? Tell us your story!

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Rachael Allen knew of Glenn while she was a graduate student at Emory, but that’s not how her story started. She recently reconnected with Susan Pinson through a Decatur moms’ group, DAMES, on Facebook. All it took was one message and the two of them went out for lunch. Could a Facebook group reunite high school friends? Most certainly. But what Rachael did not expect was that this coincidence would lead to more than just finding a friend. It would lead to her finding a church.

Rachael did not have good experiences from previous churches, so finding a new church was not easy. She and her husband, Zack, had to overcome one challenge: putting their faith in a new church, one that hopefully would not disappoint. As a college student, Rachael stopped going to church. She said: “I knew that I loved God, and I missed the fellowship of going to church, but I just couldn’t believe there were Christians out there who believed the way I believed about women and science and inclusiveness.” Zack shared the same feeling. It was only when a friend in Washington D.C. motivated them to start looking for a church by telling them that “there are churches like that up here. There HAVE to be some in Atlanta, too” that they began the search. This also happened to be the time that Rachael reconnected with Susan.

Rachael’s story reveals that friendship is not just about two people spending time together, but also about understanding each other’s needs. There are many ways to connect with a friend and for Rachael this was to share love for God and worship together. However, Glenn is not just a place to worship God, it’s a place to build strong connections with members of the community and a place to give and receive compassion. As Rachael says: “I could tell from our very first Sunday that Glenn was something special. By coincidence, our first Sunday happened to be my birthday, and I was so surprised to see Susan up front, and she came over and gave me a hug and remembered that it was my birthday!” At Glenn, Rachael saw people sharing important moments in their life, in a community of genuine care. Something as simple as receiving a hug brightened her day and the Glenn community made her feel a sense of acceptance.

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Rachael has also appreciated Pastor Alice’s teaching and comforting nature. She specifically remembers her sermon the Sunday after the tragedy in Charlottesville. It seems as if Rachael has found a church that represents her beliefs, her values, and the way she views the world. She and her family have embraced their values by also becoming active members in the community. Rachael and Zack have been able to engage their children in the Glenn community by packing sack lunches with their 7-year-old at Snack in a Backpack. These experiences have inspired her and her family to become better people. They are now part of an active group that seeks to improve the life of others. They are now teaching their children how to come together as a community and help those in need. But most importantly, Rachael feels that “We’ve found the people we’re going to change the world with.”

Elena Kefalogianni