My heritage is as a mainline Protestant. I grew up in the United Methodist Church and was baptized there as an infant and confirmed when I was middle school age. Throughout my childhood, we were always members of a church and attended more Sundays than not. My parents did a good job of making sure I usually went to Sunday School and participated in the youth group when I was of an age to do so. One thing I remember as a child that made me different from the rest of my family (and was probably a harbinger of where I am today) was that I loved when we had communion. We usually only had it on the first Sunday of each quarter and on Christmas Eve, but I really enjoyed and looked forward to it. Many folks I knew (including some of my family) weren't happy about having to go up front and having the service run a little longer, but not me. I really enjoyed it.
Like a lot of people, I drifted away during college. I went to the methodist church near campus once in blue moon (usually when they had a free meal afterwards) but generally stopped attending when nobody was making me. But even then, my attraction to communion still remained. I remember that there was a methodist church not too far from my law school that always had a communion sevice on Good Friday that I made a point to attend. Sometimes that was my only visit there all year.
When I got a job out of law school in a small South Carolina town, I joined one of the local United Methodist churches. Honesty compels me to admit that it was as much out of a sense of social obligation as it was real conviction, but at least I went. And going did me some real good. There is value in hearing the scripture read regularly and good sermons preached. I began to pay attention more and think more about God and what I should be doing with my life. And then I met the woman that was later to be my wife. Thank God. More about her in part two.