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Why Sanctuary? The story behind our name

One question that I get asked often is why our name is Sanctuary Christian Counseling, and how we arrived at that. It's actually a “God story,” and I think some of you might be interested in it.

I was practicing marriage and family therapy in the prayer room at King Street Church, in Chambersburg, PA. This was a blessing and such a great way to launch my therapy career, and I was pretty new at the job and hadn't given any thought to an "alternative" name for my practice. After all, I was practicing alone at the time, and it seemed like "Ellen J.W. Gigliotti LMFT" was enough. However, the former senior pastor of King Street Church, Dr. John Beukema, didn't think so.

He challenged me to find another name -- a name representative of what I envisioned my practice to be. I was puzzled, and not a little chagrined. It's tough to think through what exactly your passion is.

Finding words to describe it - finding ONE word to describe it! - was darn near impossible.

I thought and thought. My thoughts took me next door. At that time, next to my therapy room was the sanctuary at KSC. As soon as I sat down and began to pray about this, God made it clear that Sanctuary was to be it! When I told Dr. John, we both agreed it was the perfect name.

Over my years of practice in the church, then later in the King Street Community Center and at Scotland Campus, and finally at our location at 9974 Molly Pitcher Highway in Shippensburg, Sanctuary it has become. It embodies what I want our clients to experience - a sanctuary from the challenges they face and where they can rest, be accepted, loved, understood and helped back to health.

Since the original “naming,” several other therapists have joined Sanctuary, all of them embodying the same ideas as me – and they have enriched the concept and practice of sanctuary – all of us are compassionate, professional therapists who strive to make all our clients feel a sense of belonging, connection and peace.

May our Sanctuary be a blessing to you!


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