Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Depleted No More

Unfortunately I have been forced to realize this blog is a privilege and cannot be one of my top priorities with school riding me lately. I have papers due in every class this week and had to spend my writing on more scholarly subjects, and this is now my break! It is upsetting because I very much enjoy blogging and always have a lot to write about (not that my life is interesting, but I do have a lot of opinions!), but such is life.

First of all, I was lucky enough to switch shifts over the weekend and was able to attend church! It was an extremely positive experience and left me smiling all day. I spent ages trying to decide on what to wear not as a vain move, but out of lack of expectations. I knew the church had a liberal outlook but had no idea how that would translate. I ended up dressing fairly conservatively and simply while at the same time maintaining my style. Actually I had a woman tell me she liked my look and that it could have come from Project Runway! I was flattered, but at the same time I’ve seen Project Runway and they make dresses out of burlap sacks, so what does that really mean…

As soon as I walked in I was greeted by an older couple who said they didn’t recognize me. Once I said this was my first visit I started talking to the man about my studies, how I found the church etc. He pointed out different things I could do while I waited for the service and I chose to read some of the literature they had posted to get a feel for the church. While doing so, a woman came up and introduced herself, again saying she didn’t recognize me. She asked me to sit with her before realizing I had brought a close friend with me.

The service itself was similar to the traditional service at my church back home so it was fairly familiar, but I would prefer a service with a worship team and contemporary music; however I do enjoy a good choir. Everyone kept telling me this was a period of transition as a new pastor starts next week so it is an exciting time to join. What struck me was both pastors were women! My pastor at my home church is female so that is not odd for me, but after seeing my church was the only one with a female minister, I realized perhaps this was bizarre for others. The congregation was invited to share prayer concerns and joys as usher’s carried around mics, and at the end visitors were introduced.

The entire time I was struck by the sense of community and felt so welcomed. People realized we were new and were eager to hear about our lives and studies. After the service there was a coffee hour wherein the entire congregation sat down for coffee, cake, cookies, crackers, chocolate – so many options – and mingled. It seemed like everyone wanted to greet my friend and I. I was handed a business card by the pastor who offered to answer any questions, was invited to a small group meeting for Friday, got an offer to oversee a group of toddlers, and was asked to see a play a church member was performing in. I was immediately drawn into their community as they looked for places I could serve; they even need a crocheter for a knitting and crocheting workshop!

There is another church I want to attend this coming weekend that is more contemporary and caters towards a younger audience. However, I feel this other church is a lot bigger, and while I may appreciate the music, I loved the community I found this weekend. Most of the people were older, and maybe singing hymns gets a little stuffy, but feeling welcomed and wanted is something. I could clearly see places I could serve and where I could be needed and that can do a lot for a person. Assuming I like the new church, I’m considering going to the contemporary church every weekend because they have an evening service, and doing the more traditional service with the very liberal theology every other weekend with my work schedule. This church left me feeling so content which makes me feel that maybe this was exactly what I needed. Perhaps I will no longer feel spiritually depleted!

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