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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'We are better together'

Nurturing real community in Christ

I was angry with God," Marlys Foster says, recalling her struggles and sorrow 15 years ago. That was right before she visited Community Church of Joy, Glendale, Ariz., in search of healing.

Foster had lost her father unexpectedly, which left her disabled mother without a caretaker. She moved her mother into a nursing home. Then Foster had a hysterectomy. "I came to Joy pretty depressed," she says. "There was no turning back after I went. I felt like God was saying, 'Welcome home.' I felt so comfortable. Nobody stared at me. I was free to be me and hurting. It was a very accepting atmosphere."

Despite its staggering size — 12,000 members — the ELCA congregation is a place that nurtures community. Foster, her husband, and their two young children joined Joy a year later.


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September issue

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