Board Member Article for January – Thomas Terence

When Jeanette and Elsa and I started attending Westside in 2009, we were mostly interested in helping Elsa answer some of her questions about what religion could be. It came out pretty quickly that Jeanette was a teacher and I was a teacher in my previous career. We were asked if we would be interested in teaching RE and we both said yes right away.

I have been with RE since – still teaching via Zoom (for now)  and serving on the RE Council for a couple of years. Through this, I’ve met many wonderful people – fellow teachers and parents and students – and saw how great a community this was. When I think back to what cemented my bond to Westside, it is these early friendships I made in RE.

I think a big part of what defines a person is what communities they choose to be part of. Hopefully all of us will find communities that challenge and educate us but also support principles that many of us have built up internally over their lives. 

I have found both of these facets at Westside – I am learning new things about our ever-changing society but I also found people fighting for the same ideas my parents instilled in me long ago – treat people fairly and with kindness and always try to be as helpful as you can be.

I had walked away from church in my 20s and didn’t really think I needed it anymore. I thought I would stop by Westside for a couple of years to help Elsa begin her religious education and then drop off afterwards. I am still a little surprised that 11 years later, I am still around – happy to help the church in whatever way I can. 

Life can be surprising in a lot of ways. Finding Westside was one of the very good ones for me.

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