Why I stayed: 'I took my membership vows seriously'

Why I stayed: 'I took my membership vows seriously'

This is the first in a series of stories shared by United Methodists in Holston Conference during a season of renewal in our faith tradition. Vickie Rogers is a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Bristol, Tennessee.
I never was a church member as a child. I started attending church as an adult with my own children in Alabaster, Alabama, where we lived in the 1990s. We were invited to a United Methodist church by friends, and I immediately felt a connection. It wasn’t a 'hellfire and brimstone' kind of place but a church that taught and showed the love of Jesus. It was something I had never experienced before. That was the kind of church I wanted my children to have.

In 1999, we moved back to my hometown in Bristol, Tennessee. We visited other United Methodist churches but it was Aldersgate United Methodist where we stayed. We continued to go to Aldersgate because everyone there was so accepting and loving and genuinely cared about us. That’s where I joined the church in 2000, and I took my membership vows seriously.

So when there was a meeting set up by someone who wanted to leave the denomination, two other women in the church and I were like, 'No, this isn’t right.' And I said, 'I don’t mind speaking up. What do we have to lose?' There are no winners when the church is divided, but I had to choose the only church I’ve ever known. I had to choose to live by the Greatest Commandment, which is to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind – and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Other stories in this series
Part 2: Rev. Sam Dzobo - "I experienced amazing, amazing love"
Part 3: Tracy Gormley: "I don't think we should be excluding anybody"

If you wish to share your "Why I Stayed" story, please email thecall@holston.org. Holston Conference includes member churches in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and North Georgia, with main offices in Alcoa, Tennessee. Sign up for a free email subscription to The Call.


Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.