Church Search Part: 1 – Starting over after losing count
Attended 1st UMC, arrived a little late for the candle lighting and the passing of the peace – whatever that is.
Noticed the dates of the songs, one of them from the 1500s, two of them from the 1800s, the hymnal was from the late 1980s, two years younger than me. So the music averages out to the year 1700.
Children’s moment had something to do with an eraser.
There was a guest preacher as the usual one had a bicycle accident.
The guest preacher talked about the gate and the sheep before my attention wandered.
On the bright side, the people were very friendly and helped all of us getting to our seats. I’m told that they tape their services for those who are ‘shut-ins’. They also gave us a gift, a packet of tissues and a container of hand sanitizer because they care and are in close proximity to the school. Minus two points for the lack of chocolate.
This will not be our new church.
– September 29, 2009
I was wrong. What a difference five years make! It’s not been easy for us to find the ‘right’ church. In fact, I’m starting to lose track of which churches I attended when and for how long I was there. I doubt that I’d recognize people from my previous two churches if I met them on the street. I think it was about five years ago that we really saw the cracks in the theology that our denomination had been teaching us. The problem was, we ignored it. Since then, the cracks slowly grew into a chasm that resulted in leaving the denomination behind as those cracks exist in every single one of their churches. Easier said than done, that denomination is either directly or indirectly in charge of 80% of the churches in this county.
The only other visit to this church I remember was on Easter, they still had the same old songs, but this time they met in the recently finished sanctuary (previously it was in the basketball gym where they held services.) Because it was a special occasion, the ladies were wearing fascinator hats – it seems I didn’t post about it. At any rate, aside from a pastor being different, I think everything else was the same. We weren’t thrilled with the church or planning to return.
And yet – half a year ago, give or take a few days or weeks, we came back for the third time. Much was the same, meeting in the sanctuary, but the pastor was different as this denomination routinely moves pastors around so that churches do not become dependant on them. Considering how many churches and pastor’s we’ve been through over the years, it only made sense. After all, the last permanent pastor we had only lasted about a year before he quit the church. I guess the difference was that we were ready to try anything that wasn’t a Southern Baptist church, so we were actually open to something different and weren’t in the least bit threatened by it.
So it’s been six months and I thought I’d let you know that this church has done something remarkable – it ever so slightly changed. Sadly, there’s not a full contemporary service yet, but it’s begun Bible studies at Sunday School, sings some contemporary songs as choir specials, and introduced gluten-free communion wafers. Any one of these things usually takes years for a church to accomplish. I can only hope that the momentum that is gained continues.
Will this church prove to be our church? It is for now and that’s the most hopeful way to say it. It’s not in the same denomination as our previous churches, and that’s in its favor, but it’s not contemporary and that’s a strike against it. It is not a deal-breaker because it’s theology is far better than the other churches, but there is always room for improvement.