ALETTA’S NOTE: Jeanne Brown wrote this letter to us when she and her family first joined us for worship two years ago. She recently updated the letter and is allowing me to make it available to the congregation. I hope you enjoy learning more about Jeanne and her family as much as I have.
ORIGINAL: Nov. 19, 2017 REVISED: Nov. 26, 2018.
Dear Congregation of First Christian Church:
As a family that “walked in the door and stayed”, we want to share a little bit about ourselves.
Marieka and I met in 1999 when I came down to join the Border Servant Corps, of which Marieka is also a part. I drove here from Iowa, my home state, whereas Marieka is a Las Cruces native. We connected during our time a the Border Servant Corps and became a couple. We married in 2002 extra-legally, though we married again legally in August 2014 on the Dona Ana County Courthouse lawn by Pastor Linda (she was there to marry Heather and Sarah) who asked us before she began, “How do you feel about God?” “We’re great with God,” we answered. “Then I’ll use God in your service!”
Both of us grew up in religious homes. Marieka is Jewish and continues to be very active at Temple Beth-El. I grew up in a Christian Reformed home and am a graduate of Luther Seminary, though I was never ordained and have served churches only in a part-time, non-pastoral role.
Both of us have extensive histories of volunteering at home and abroad. Marieka’s longest service was a 3-year stint in El Salvador, working with a Quaker organization as an educator in a rural community. My longest stint was a live-in volunteer in a Benedictine monastery in northern Minnesota, where I helped the nuns in a child care center they ran, staying for five years.
Liana is 8 and Kaila is 13, students at Valley View and Sierra Middle School. Both are doing their religious education at Temple Beth-El on Sunday mornings. Kaila became bat mitzvah last May at a ceremony where she learned extensive Hebrew prayers and her Torah portion in Hebrew.
Marieka is a professor of writing in the English Dept., at NMSU, working primarily with international students. I teach preschool at the lab school at NMSU, as well as serving as adjunct faculty for the early childhood department. I completed my PhD in early childhood education in May 2018.
Some other random data: We are all vegetarians. We are all musical: (I play guitar, some piano; we all sing). As a family we all participate at Temple Beth-El and, when we can, we all hope to participate here as well.
Thank you for including our family in your community?
Jeanne, Marieka, Kaila and Liana Brown