When I first started coming to Starr King, it was because my dad wanted to find a church, I was just his ride. My dad had Asperger’s Syndrome, something we didn’t understand when I was growing up. I just knew I was often ashamed of my father’s unusual behavior. Here at church, Dad would respond to the minister out loud during services, comment loudly about songs the congregation or choir sang, and sometimes even break into song himself. I was mortified, and would try to keep him from disturbing others.
However, a number of you started telling me how much you appreciated Dad’s authenticity and enthusiasm, and you urged me to let him be himself. You redefined my dad for me, and I was somehow able to see Dad through your eyes, and realize that he was funny, warm, quirky, unconditionally loving, and I could finally love him back in the same way. For the last year and a half of his life, and for the first time in my life, this congregation gave me my dad.