Introducing our Senior Minister:
The Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy
September 13, 2017: Location, Location, Location!
When my husband Brian and I decided it was time for a move, and I began to search for a new ministry, we were focused on getting closer to his whole family who live in Chicago. I narrowed it down to four in-person interviews, all in the Midwest. Two of those congregations were closer to Chicago than Appleton. Two were in larger metropolitan areas than Appleton.
Originally, Brian and I thought we were seeking a larger city. We have always considered ourselves “city people” and we like the hustle-and-bustle and energy of large cities: Appleton wasn’t high on our list. But we decided to come take a peek at the town before my interview, and we were really surprised! We were surprised, first, because we found Appleton and the Fox Valley to be a much more vibrant community than we had expected. We loved the downtown activities, arts, outdoor opportunities, and the presence of Lawrence University. We were also very surprised by our own internal reactions. We suddenly realized that maybe we aren’t “city people” after all! Maybe what we love about cities is just the ability to “get out and do stuff” and we realized we would be able to do that here in the Fox Valley.
In fact, when we continued the search process, we realized that Appleton provided us a far greater flexibility for our lives than we were accustomed to: It was a smallish town without traffic (I’ve seen your traffic. You don’t have traffic!) and it would cut down on our commute times by an hour per day, each! That, alone, would free up so much time and energy to do things we love, like spending time with our toddler son, Nevan. We also realized that the things we want to do in the evenings or on weekends have drastically shifted since becoming parents. Clubs, concerts, or bars might have been fun when we were younger and single. But now with an almost-two-year-old, the Building for Kids, Farm Market, and swimming at the YMCA sound like so much more fun!
We love that we’re walking distance from a park (we live close to Peabody Park) and are a very quick bike ride or drive from other sights and activities. We’ve already taken advantage of the incredible Farm Market a few times, and enjoyed our first Mile of Music with a few outings and educational opportunities with our son. We’ve found a number of great restaurants in town, and enjoy trying new foods. We enrolled Nevan in the parent/toddler swimming class at the YMCA, and will continue to take advantage of their great programs as well as others in the area like Lawrence University’s kids’ education program, Music for the Very Young (if we can get a spot).
We’re settling into our new home, which we love, as I’m settling into my new ministry here at the Fellowship. Brian is starting a new job in September with Appleton Downtown, and he’s excited about new opportunities there, especially as a great way to get connected to our new hometown right away! Nevan loves his daycare, Project Bridges, and we’re enjoying our new neighbors and community. I participated in mid-August in the spontaneous vigil that was held in City Park following the Charlottesville white-supremacy march and violence, and I was so heartened to see the turnout of my new chosen community, candles in hands, coming together to affirm our collective commitment to justice, love, and anti-racism. Thank you, Appleton, for being great! I look forward to getting to know you more in the coming months and years.
August 3, 2017: Hello Again!
A few of Rev. Christina’s past sermons