I’ve been attending church here for about 6 weeks now. But, it’s not giving me what I need.
It really feels like everyone is there out of obligation and only obligation. I get it – as a Catholic – going to church on Sunday IS an obligation. But, it has always been so much more than that. It has been a sense of community and belonging. It has been a place to reconnect with friends, makes new ones and be surrounded by familiar faces and a warm presence.
Here it is hundreds of people pushing their way through like a salmon going upstream to get into church and get a seat. It is being surrounded by people of every ethnicity but my own who are speaking in languages I don’t understand. It is being pushed aside while waiting my turn to go to communion. (Yes, someone ACTUALLY pushed me aside on the way to communion – at church. Pretty sure there was enough host to go around…..)
It is being moved like cattle, shoulder to shoulder on my way out the door and then being greeted by people yelling bus numbers and waving signs as people are corralled to the proper place to head out. There is no community. There are no friendly, familiar faces.
But – I go week after week. The service is in English. The choir sounds nice. I’m getting a little out of it. But – not enough.
My kids had a sleepover at a friend’s house last Thursday night and then they went with the family to church. They go to an Evangelical church around the corner from ours. We picked them up on the way to our own service on Friday morning.
It looked lovely. I saw familiar faces. There were lots of Americans. Saw a few families from school. They were all relaxing outside after church and talking with each other. No one was yelling a bus number. My kids came running out of church happy from bible school and talking about enjoying it.
The word evangelical makes me think of bible-thumping. I don’t know if that’s even accurate – it’s just what I think of.
I talked to my friend and she said that lots of people attend who are actually different religions – Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, etc… The church provides the sermon without the ritual of some of the specific religions.
I felt warm and friendly.
I’m going to try attending next week to see if it’s a good fit. I think church is important for our family – especially when we are so far from home. But – I just need to find the right one.