Sandeep’s story

"I moved to Murfreesboro from India for graduate school without knowing a soul. I decided to look for place to worship. Back home, I was a member of the Church of South India, which was formed from a number of Anglican and Protestant denominations after Indian independence. So, here in the States, I was open to visiting different churches

I Googled churches near me and found St. Mark’s, a Catholic church and a Pentecostal church within walking distance, which was important since I was without a car. The first Sunday I set out walking to St. Mark’s in a suit while it was snowing! Worship was good, but I was ready to slip out at the end seeing as how I didn’t like wearing a suit and was one of only two people wearing one. Before I could leave, someone asked me if I wanted to go to Sunday School, and I said, ‘Sure.’ That’s my usual response; even if I’m not sure, I’ll try things out. Then, after Sunday School when the same person asked, ‘Will you come back?’, I found myself again saying, ‘Sure.’ I’ve been worshiping at St. Mark’s ever since – just without the coat and tie.

I landed in a Sunday School class where I was the youngest person in the room, but I liked the class discussion and the diversity in people’s perspectives. This difference of opinion was something new for me – to be on different sides of an issue and still be in the same room. In India, I was expected to defer to older people. Here, someone might to turn to me and ask me what I thought. It forced me to decide what I really did think. St. Mark’s gave me a place and people to talk about faith, which encouraged me in my walk with God.

I started joining in Wednesday Night Together, too. I can sit with other people over a meal and talk about our days, which is especially nice since I live alone. Then, there are all these different classes! It’s like family night.

St. Mark’s is now my home church. I work in Nashville, and people ask me why I don’t move. St. Mark’s is the reason. My connection to this faith community is strong. God has worked in my life through the people I’ve met in classes and over the dinner table. So much so, that when one of the pastors asked me to consider teaching the college class part-time, I said, ‘Sure.’”