Going to a new church

At playdates this summer, a couple of my Mommy friends have talked about their church – book club meetings, Women’s retreats, that kind of thing. I miss going to church. Mostly I miss the fellowship, the healing that takes place, the communing with Spirit / God / Infinite Intelligence / the divine within each of us.

I asked them what it is they like about their church. The said they like the fellowship and knowing that they were working on their spiritual lives in some small way.

So today, after an invitation from one of those friends, I went.

Going somewhere new is always a bit of an uncomfortable experience. You’re out of your element, don’t know where anything is and worry about making some awful faux pas in front of strangers. Fortunately, one of my friends pulled up right behind me as I was parking and getting Duncan out of the car. So we followed them inside and they showed us around. I quickly got lost in the maze of this place.

The way the service works, everyone – parents and kids – sit down in the church for the first part of the service. Then the parents take the kids to their rooms for the remainder of the time. Duncan was in a 3-year-old pre-school room with his 2 playdate buddies and Berry went to the nursery with the siblings of Duncan’s friends. (Nice that we all had kids at the same time.) Then the adults go back to the service.

It all went well. Berry consented to being left and didn’t even notice me leave. I left my cell phone number and kept my phone on vibrate. Duncan got to play with his friends, so he didn’t care.

The service itself was fine. I have to say that I wish I liked it more. Because all the other things were really great – child care, my friends, a beautiful big building. But, while I do love Jesus, I just don’t have a Lord & Savior kind of relationship with him. I want to talk to God myself, directly, not through his son. Besides, we’re all God’s sons and daughters. To me, worshipping one person misses the fundamental point that Jesus was trying to convey to us all in the first place.

I will say that the hymn at the beginning of the service (not that I can name it, but it was a familiar tune from my childhood) made me start to cry. I was sitting there with two squirmy kids and no tissues – not the ideal time for an emotional religious moment. Besides, I hate to cry in public.

On the way home, I asked the kids if they liked it. Duncan said he did. He said he’d like to go again (i.e. he responded affirmatively when asked directly if he’d like to go again). Berry did not shake her head no when asked if she’d like to go again, which I will take to mean that she enjoyed it, too.

When asked what he did, Duncan told me that he “sang songs and played games.” Apparently the teaching was something about Moses. On the way out of his room, he was handed a “Take-Home Sheet” entitled, God Calls Moses, that has a coloring activity, a bit of bible teaching and an explanation about the whole thing (presumably for me). Which is a bit of an issue for me.

While I’m quite able to sort out my own personal beliefs from those of the person in the pulpit, I’m not sure I’m ready for my kids to be exposed to Presbyterian religious doctrine. On the other hand, I want them to grow up with something. The silly thing is, one of the main reasons we don’t go to my church – the one in which I am an ordained minister – is because they don’t have childcare. So either I leave them at home (with their Dad), hire my own sitter, or don’t go.

I think I’ll go to my friends church again. And maybe visit some others in the area. I like seeing how other people do things, but I don’t want to be a spiritual gypsy for too long.

3 thoughts on “Going to a new church

  1. Not wanting to be a spiritual gypsy is the reason why we stopped forcing ourselves to go to our Catholic church (with inadequate childcare) and went instead to the little local Episcopal church (small enough that the lack of childcare doesn’t really matter).

    I grew up all over Christendom (Lutheran… Episcopal/Anglican… Catholic… Orthodox) and so I’m pretty ecumenical in mindset. I hope to encourage the same for my boys if they can avoid the same confusion over doctrine that I dealt with. (Or at least, if they encounter it, can come to the same conclusion that spirituality is what counts.)

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