As we continue to savor the summertime, we continue our series “Saint Luke Stories” featuring stories of how various members of our community found their way to Saint Luke and why they call it home. Thus far, we have featured stories from Marie & Jennifer, Ian, and TJ.
This story comes from Paul & Gretchen DiSciascio and their adorable kids. They are involved in Sunday School and Paul sings in the choir. Enjoy!
Paul and Gretchen DiSciascio are raising three sweet little souls— Ewen (5), Dylan (2) and Ada (9 months). On top of teaching toddlers how to put on their own shoes, managing nap time, singing silly songs for the hundredth time, and all of the joys and challenges of raising young children, they are committed to incorporating faith into their children’s lives. After a move to a new area, the DiSciascios were looking for a local church for their whole family to call home. Paul’s previous pastor suggested that the young family check out Saint Luke. One Sunday morning, they loaded up their family and did just that. Gretchen describes their first visit saying, “We felt welcome. Ewen, our oldest, had always been reluctant to leave mom, but he went to Children's Church like it was something he did every week and he had been doing it his whole life.” It was that comfort shown by their children that caused them to return the very next week and the weeks after that. Paul explains, “Saint Luke is home. We worship here. This is where we belong.”
It is a church community where the whole family belongs and is embraced just as they are. Gretchen explained, “As an exhausted parent of three, it's comforting to know that we can come as we are and that we are not only welcome, we belong. Saint Luke is home for us. Our kids feel safe and happy here.” The DiSciascios kiddos are a part of Sunday School and while Dylan looks forward to snack time and playing with his favorite teacher, Mrs. Seaton, Ewen also invites other kids to come “because they can learn about God and play and have fun!” Additionally, Ewen shares that his highlights of Saint Luke are “the Prayground and Children’s Church.” You cannot help but smile as Dylan chimes in agreeing about the love of the PrayGround, but also how he enjoys “sharing the peace with God.” Gretchen clarifies that he means sharing the peace with Pastor Matt, but for the life of them they can't get their adorable 2 year old to understand the difference.
Even at the young age of 2, Dylan experiences God’s incredible love at Saint Luke and is clearly drawn to Pastor Matt. Each Christmas, Saint Luke offers a special family-friendly Christmas Eve service with a children’s message and glow sticks. It is full of Christmas cheer, and wiggles and giggles are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Last year, as the DiSciascios enjoyed the festive service, Dylan tried to get up and help his beloved Pastor Matt deliver the Children's sermon. Paul and Gretchen fondly remember this sweet and humorous holiday memory explaining, “The only way we got him to come down from the altar was by bribing him with cookies!”
Since becoming members in January of 2017, on the same day that Dylan was baptized, they have had many wonderful memories like these. They have all found a place at Saint Luke. Beyond the involvement with their children, Paul shares the gift of his beautiful voice by participating in the choir. He shares, “I joined the choir because I enjoy singing and I like to participate in the worship service in that way. Having grown up in a Lutheran church, I was exposed to music in a positive way at a young age, and it's always been a part of my life. The choir here at Saint Luke has been incredibly welcoming and has really helped our family feel rooted here.” The choir at Saint Luke may be small but under the leadership of John Rea has done some really big things. Paul playfully jokes, “Just think how much more he could do with just a few more...cough...join the choir..cough..you know you want to.” For those that love to sing, you will find what Paul discovered, a welcoming group of people, passionate about music and helping others experience God through it.
For the DiSciascios, it is their dream that their children will continue to be a part of the Saint Luke community as they grow, but they also hope that others will experience the generosity and welcoming nature of Saint Luke. To other young families uncertain if there is a place for their family at church, Gretchen soothes their fears and encourages, “Just come. However you are, whatever you've got, just come. Especially young families. Our two year old tries to run up the aisle to his dad in the choir loft almost every week, my baby decides that she is starving and needs to scream her head off in the middle of the prayers, and I never get a single dirty look. Someone always helps corral the toddler if he gets away from me, shakes his hand when we share the peace, and tells me how glad they are to see us this morning. Everyone really is welcome at Saint Luke.” It is for that reason that Paul is most proud to be a part of Saint Luke. Paul says, “We really feel that ‘all are welcome, no exceptions’ is a thing we do here. At Saint Luke, love is a verb, and it doesn't leave anyone behind for any reason.”
Come, babies, big kids, and toddlers in tow. Ewen will gladly show you his Sunday School class and invite you to join in the fun. Dylan will happily share the peace with you. Gretchen and Ada will extend a sweet smile, and Paul is saving you a seat in the choir. There is a spot for you and everyone in your family, no matter what your family looks like.