Taylor Stokes and Travis Holmes came to St. Albans one Sunday morning with one purpose in mind: to see if it was a suitable church to get married in.
They were nervous about arriving late. As soon as they sat down someone introduced themselves and invited them to grab a coffee. It was past 10 a.m. already but they were told at St. Albans you can never be late. People were still chatting with friends or searching for the service program on their phones. It didn’t take them long to realize this church was different.
“People are genuinely interested in you and your life and supporting you and your life and making you part of what they have too. People want to include you in what they’re doing. Not for any personal gain but because they want you to be part of it,” said Taylor.
Both grew up in rural, more traditional Anglican churches and they said the St. Albans service was a shock. The music was upbeat and from this century. People filtered in throughout the service and there was no real shame in tardiness. And the long list of announcements showed the congregation “wants to actually change something and be involved.” Taylor is an environmental technician and after hearing about St. Albans involvement in the Climate March and other social justice initiatives, she was hooked.
“We were driving home… and decided we’d go back next Sunday, that was the conversation. There wasn’t really one, we both just felt it,” said Travis, adding how they drive 40 minutes to church from Almont and discuss the sermon on the way home.
They said they felt the community and knew they would stay. Looking back, they said they only have one regret.
“We wish we had found it sooner. We were always saying we’ll wait until we have children to go back to church, and as soon as we came to St. Albans, we realized why wait? There’s no reason to,” said Travis.
Travis and Taylor will be married at St. Albans in August. But now they’re familiar faces around the church and most Sundays you can find them in a far right pew, grabbing a coffee and chatting with friends.
“We found church without really looking for it,” said Travis.
“It found us?” wondered Taylor aloud.
They looked at each other and laughed, a kind of silent agreement.
“I suppose so.”