After a few months attending worship gatherings at En Vivo, Tony decided to join the church. We decided to interview him and get to know him better. Here is what he shared with us.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Michigan boy by birth and raising, originally from suburban Detroit, and more specifically from the city of Southfield. After high school I moved away for a long time. I went away to school in Chicago for about four years. Then, I got a job working for a major theatre in Houston. I worked there for about a year. Then, I moved back to Chicago and taught again taught theatre and acting classes for a year. Around that time I went on vacation to California and fell madly in love with the climate there. I proceeded to move to California and stayed there for forty-four years.
I returned to Michigan four years ago. I had retired and was too distant to see my great nephews and niece grow up. I was missing way too much of their lives. I could only get home once or twice a year. And I just had enough of it. I considered moving back into the Southfield area and to Lansing, where my brother currently lives. But, I loved Grand Rapids. I liked the Western side of the state. I think it’s the most beautiful part of Michigan. There is a fair amount of culture in Grand Rapids. There is good music. There is some opera. Wonderful art. And as I learned, a very active theatre community. I thought, “Okay, this is going to work for me.” It has. And here I am.
Describe your connection to church before joining En Vivo Church.
I refer to myself as a severely lapsed Catholic. Before going to En Vivo, the only time I ever went into church was when I was vacation in Italy and was in and out of a lot of churches all the time. But, I treated the churches mostly as museums. I attended some of the masses because they are beautiful, but not regularly. It was only because I was on vacation.
How were you first introduced to En Vivo Church?
My first connection to En Vivo Church was Ricardo, whom I met while I was doing a play last November. We were in the play together. I got to know him, learned that he was a minister of a small church and began attending the services. I liked how Ricardo did services. Through the church I met some lovely people. I found it gave me comfort. It filled a niche that I was not right-away aware needed filling. The more I attended, the more I wanted to participate. That’s how I got involved.
What does being a part of En Vivo do for you personally?
It doesn’t matter to me that En Vivo is a protestant church. It helps me communicate with God. It helps me to get in touch with the lives of others and what their struggles are. During service I get to listen to people who share their concerns with others who are struggling. I’ve even shared my own feelings about current situations in the world. It makes me aware of things other than myself. Situations. People. I’m a single guy and self-absorbed. The church has helped me to be much less so. Hopefully it will continue.
What do you do as volunteer with En Vivo?
I am now a member of the Hospitality Team. It involves getting there early on a Sunday morning, making coffee and setting up the breakfast area. I make sure things are there, easy to reach, and well presented. I am enjoying it. Its easy. Its something I do naturally!
What are your future hopes for the church as it continues?
I hope the congregation increases significantly. Ricardo has great plans. I want to see them all come to fruition. I would love to see a theater group get started within the church, perhaps one involving children and one for adults. I would like to see the community gravitate to the church as a source of spiritual comfort and guidance. And I want the church help those in the community in whatever problems people have in their lives, helping the people solve them and finding the resources that they need.