Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, a day where I reflect on a piece of gratitude that I’m truly thankful for, which for today is for finding Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center here in Toledo, Ohio.
How I came to find Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center began with my therapist some time ago. After observing my long struggle here in Toledo in finding and connecting with those who actually have a desire to talk about God, Christ, spirituality, and everything in between, and who also DON’T use the Bible as an absolute, she suggested I don’t give up my search.
My problem was that I’ve faced so much opposition in my life with too many places of worship where my sexuality was negatively viewed as a sin. Add in the fact that my partner has felt for some time that all religion was poison and there wasn’t much of a push by either of us to find any type of spiritual home any time soon. In other words, I didn’t quite feel motivated to take any new action. Yet, thanks to the easy access of the internet on my mobile phone and the ease of Google, I decided one evening out of boredom to search one last time for a spiritual place of worship here in Toledo.
For the life of me, I can’t remember the exact combination of words I searched for in that moment, but the first result that appeared is one I had never come across before, that being Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center. I’ve done many searches in the past here in Toledo, and never once did this place ever come back in any of them. Why it appeared this time around, I don’t know. Maybe I was never ready for it to become a part of my life or maybe my life wasn’t ready to become a part of them any time I had searched prior.
Nevertheless, what convinced me to check them out was what appeared in their mission statement on their website. It read as follows: Angel’s Landing is an independent Spiritual Center. Our journey together is based on the teachings of the “Master Teacher,” Jesus the Christ. We focus on lessons from Scripture as well as the wisdom of many other enlightened teachers who have graced us with their expressions of this Divine Love. There are no “religious” limitations of our exploration, discoveries or enlightened choices. We come together drawn by the Power of God expressing through, and as, each of us. That is why our community is called, “Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center!” For some reason, those words really connected with my Soul and I felt this push from within to stop in one Sunday. So, when I finally decided to go, thankfully, my partner opted to attend as well, a decision I didn’t take lightly.
We really didn’t know what to expect when we first walked through the door at the end of this business plaza on an exceptionally warm and sunny February Sunday morning. I was pleasantly surprised when we were cheerfully greeted as soon as we entered, by a woman with extremely bright and cheerful energy, someone who also told us how accepted and loved our relationship was by her, and someone who made sure to help us feel right at home. It didn’t take long for a number of others in attendance to demonstrate the same warm welcome as well.
I never once felt out of place during the hour-long service, which was definitely one I enjoyed immensely, mainly because it didn’t follow the usual Sunday morning worship format I had come to loathe over the years. You see, I’m not a fan of that all rise, all sit, read this, read that, sing this, sing that, listen to this, listen to that, and well you get my point. Thankfully this service felt very much different. And by the end of it, when all of us drew together in a circle of friendship and sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth” hand in hand, I felt something I haven’t felt in a long, long time, that being a spiritual family. Even better, we got to break bread with them afterward, as they always do a potluck each week once the service is over.
But, the biggest piece of gratitude I have for Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center actually deals with my partner. I have felt quite spiritually disconnected from him in the past year or two and often considered the part that was missing in our relationship was worshipping God together. When he opted to attend the service with me, I honestly figured he’d go and say afterward it wasn’t for him, yet the exact opposite happened. During it, he reached for my hand a number of times, something he’s normally not comfortable with and something I’ve been praying for a long time now. And when the service ended, it was he who said he definitely wanted to come back before I even had a chance to say the same.
So, I have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center in Toledo, Ohio. After being unconditionally loved and embraced there, moved enough to start regularly attending, and feeling a long-standing prayer had finally been answered with my partner and I, I’m very thankful for finding this beautiful place to worship, as it’s now become a wonderful part of both my spiritual journey, as well as my partner’s.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson