Connie Sellecca spoke of something I had not read in the research I had done: her faith in God. I told her I was raised in the Methodist church. She told me she was raised Catholic and then described herself as a born-again Christian. She told me she attended a Messianic service on Sundays and explained that her church combined Christianity—most importantly, the belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah—with elements of Judaism and the Jewish tradition.
I was intrigued.
I had been born into the church, but I had not attended church regularly since I enrolled in college in 1970. I’d gone to church camp every summer for five years and I’d studied for and completed my confirmation as a Christian. I had attended church three times a week with my family. I had memorized dozens of Scriptures. I’d said the Lord’s Prayer every night before bed. Then, as a freshman at NC State, I took a religion course that I expected to be a walk-through of the Bible but instead turned into a semester-long argument by the professor that Christianity was nothing more than man’s desire to understand the things he could not explain through science. The professor was effective and had me questioning my own beliefs. I told Connie all of this. I spoke these words aloud for the first time in decades.
This was heavy conversation on a first date. But it felt right, natural. At this, Connie suggested I might like her church. She told me that this was how she spent her Sundays, so if we wanted to spend what little free time each of us had together, I might want to consider giving it a try. I liked Connie, so of course, I was interested in her church.
As it turned out, I would fall in love with Connie and her church. Beth Ariel Fellowship would become a big part of my life.