Kelly Aljibury saw the writing on the wall – and on a few bumper stickers.The message, whether written across billboards, slapped onto bumpers or spraypainted across random walls, was always the same: “Jesus Loves You.”
This was about a year ago, soon after Kelly had a spiritual awakening in a meditation class.“I felt this glowing purple light and this overwhelming sense of unconditional love,” she said. “It was hugely transformative to me.”
So when these messages of Christ’s love began appearing, she was jolted. “OK, I hear you!” she responded. “I hear you!”
A commercial interior designer and mother of young twins, Kelly knew she had to find a spiritual community. She wanted a Christian church, yes, but one reasonably close to her Sorrento Mesa home; one that professed an open-minded, compassionate theology; and one that understood the power of ritual and prayer.
Last June, her search brought her to Good Samaritan Episcopal Church. “I went,” she noted, “and said this is the place.”
Born in San Diego, Kelly was raised in Florida, where her father was a NASA engineer and her mother a creative homemaker. Her family did not attend church, and while they celebrated Christmas and Easter, Kelly wanted more. In grade school, she attended a Baptist Sunday school; in junior high, the local Methodist church.
On graduating from the University of Florida, she married her boyfriend, a Marine Corps pilot. When he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, they moved west. The marriage foundered and the couple parted ways. Kelly remained in San Diego, pursued her career and, in 2017, married again--“a lovely, lovely engineer,” she said of her husband.
But he’s not a churchgoer. In 2019, after the arrival of the couple’s fraternal twins, Alice and Ethan, Kelly again felt that hunger for a spiritual community. “Raising kids is a very spiritual endeavor,” she said. “I needed extra doses of grace and patience, raising twins.”
At Good Sam, she immediately felt welcomed – and sometimes lost. “I wasn’t raised with Christian traditions,” she explained. Last summer, she enrolled in the congregation’s Alpha Class, a course for newcomers to the church. People gathered for a meal, a video, and talks about how faith illuminates life. “It was a safe place where we could be honest about our doubts,” Kelly said, “honest about our experiences.”
Her spiritual journey continues every Sunday at Good Sam, where Kelly worships with one of her twins – Ethan and Alice alternate, so each can have a special time with Mom.
The journey also continues every other day, wherever Kelly is, as she reaches for that extra portion of grace all parents – all people – need. “Every morning I pray for patience,” she said. “Every morning I pray for guidance.”