My name is Vanessa Woodworth. My husband Craig and I started attending AHUMC in 2013. We are originally from Washington State, about an hour south of Seattle. We met one another in a high school math class; after joining drama and choir, we became friends. Fast forward to 2013, and it won’t surprise you to learn that we joined the Sanctuary Choir at AHUMC. Music has always been a way for us to find joy and to make friends.
After the birth of our daughter Annie (age 7), a lot of moving, and the birth of our son James (age 4), we ultimately settled back here in San Antonio and at AHUMC. We never discussed the kids getting involved with the children’s choir program; it was assumed and automatic. We talked about it for so long that Annie wanted to join before she was even old enough. It occurs to me that there are many ways to introduce a child to music but to find a place that has a real heart for kids is rare. Of course, I’d like my kids to learn about the technical aspects of music—how to read notes and sing in key, but above that, I’d like them to know the same legacy of music that Craig and I have been lucky enough to experience here at AHUMC. For us, that has meant a supportive community that loves and lifts us up for who we are. We all need a place to go where we are seen, a place where we can count on others to celebrate our victories and hold us up when the challenges of life are hard to bear.
Annie is now about to start second grade. I’m amazed at how much better I’ve gotten to know other families since Annie joined Sunday Sounds. Seeing the same faces each week at church and even at HEB has given us all a greater sense of belonging. It steadily reminds not only the kids but Craig and I that we are not alone. God does know us by name, and he has blessed us with this church and these people so that we will not forget it.
These days we have an overwhelming number of choices for extracurricular activities. Craig and I feel so relieved to know Sunday Sounds is a safe and reliable place for Annie, where she will be taught by loving mentors and gifted musicians. We have experienced first-hand how their time and encouragement have helped her grow into a more confident and creative person. We love that Sunday Sounds has time dedicated to teaching the kids the same hymns and sung responses we use in services each week. Annie lights up when she recognizes the words to the “Glory Be” and can participate right along with the grown-ups. It’s so important for children to know they have a real part in the services and in our church family. The Sunday Sounds staff wisely knows this and helps the kids discover that sense of ownership.
Have you heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? It’s true, but hard to find that village. The music ministry at AHUMC has become that place for our family. This community of faithful people is loving on our kids and helping to raise them into the kind and generous young people we want them to be. With God (and the choir), all things are indeed possible. Now we just need to keep reminding James that his time to join the choir is coming.