My childhood and youth in the Episcopal Church was a wonderful experience for me. As I said in Part 1, that little Episcopal Church in Lewisburg, WV was like my second family. I loved everything about it. Church was my “happy place.” When I was 13 years old, my family moved from Lewisburg to Newtown, CT. When we were looking at houses the realtor showed us one next door to Trinity Episcopal Church and I thought, “This is where I want to live!” My parents chose a different house, but Trinity very quickly became our church home. There were certainly more Episcopalians in Newtown than Lewisburg, and Trinity reflected that reality. It was much larger and had an active youth group. The building was beautiful and iconic, sitting in the center of town right across from Newtown’s trademark “flagpole.” My twin brother and I got involved with the youth group and started acolyting. A young priest named Bob O’Connor arrived shortly after we did, and we formed a very deep bond with Fr. Bob. He more than anyone else was responsible for forming and discipling me during my formative high school years. Fr. Bob taught me what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and for that I will be forever grateful.
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.