Four years ago, Janetha Williams was comfortably unattached to church. “I’ve been in and out of church my whole life,” she explains. “When my cousin first invited me to Mosaic, I wasn’t even really looking.”
Six months later she became a member. “It happened pretty quickly because I just felt comfortable there and I felt like it was where I needed to be.”
This is part of Janetha’s story. If you want to hear more about her journey visit her small group on Thursdays from 7-9. Contact her directly at email@example.com for details.
How Mosaic Became Home
“I’ve always considered myself saved,” Janetha says. As a kid, she spent several years in a Pentecostal church and even attended church for a while after college. “Ultimately, I left because it wasn’t feeding me spiritually.”
Then Janetha’s cousin invited her to visit Mosaic. “My daughter, Leila, was 8 at the time. I wasn’t really looking for a church, but it came to my mind that as a parent, I’m responsible for her faith.”
When she visited, a few things clicked right away. “I loved that women are leaders at all levels in Mosaic. I’ve tried attending churches before where women couldn’t be leaders, and it just was not for me.”
She also loved the laid back atmosphere. “There’s a lot less pomp and circumstance than other churches I’ve been a part of. My daughter and I sometimes joke about the clothes we wear to Mosaic because we are so much less formal there.”
And she loves that it’s a diverse community. “It truly is a Mosaic,” Janetha says.
Navigating Identity and Community
Janetha herself brings multiple identities to the table. “My grandparents came from Barbados on one side, and the deep south on the other. I was the first person on my mother’s side to graduate from college and I still have family members struggling to make it. I’ve also been a nurse for 15 years,” she says, “So working in healthcare is part of my identity. And, of course, I’m a mom.”
Janetha brings all of those identities to being a leader and member at Mosaic. “I started leading a small group a few months ago, and it’s pretty diverse,” she says. “But I am the only person with a school age child in the group, and everyone else is Caucasian.”
Her small group includes a couple in their 60s, a man in his 40s, a young couple who just got married, and Janetha’s 12-year old daughter Leila. “Just leading that group has been stretching,” she says.
“I sometimes wonder if they will be interested in the same things I am, or I worry because they’ve all been going to church their whole lives.” Yet Janetha says it’s one of the best ways she’s connecting with God right now.
Tackling Anti-Racism Work
Another way Janetha has been growing is through being part of a church that is not majority black. In the last several years, Mosaic has been vocal about being an anti-racist church.
“One of the reasons I love Mosaic is that they’re a church that’s tackling race,” Janetha says. But that can also create conflict.
“I remember having a family member visit, and afterwards we had a big conversation about how anti-racism work should look.” Janetha’s family member felt like the emphasis for anti-racism work should be on performing actions in the community.
“I get where they were coming from,” Janetha says. “But the thing about racism is that it’s about implicit bias and groupthink. We have to change those things if we want real change to happen.”
While Mosaic does believe in action, hosting community events throughout the year and regularly sharing its space with neighborhood groups, the bulk of its anti-racism work has been like the Race and Beauty project–focused on education and spiritual change.
“I’ve been black my whole life,” Janetha says. “I just turned 38. That’s enough time to see that things really need to change. How do we overcome? How do we finally move out of these roles people have created for us? A lot of that comes down to changing the way people think.”
Tackling anti-racism as a community isn’t always smooth or easy but for Janetha, it’s a good start. Mosaic is a place where she can see change happening, where she can grow and connect to God, and where she can help others do the same.
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