Need to find a church home…..
I was born and raised in the Nazarene church. A Wesleyan heritage is all I have ever known.
And yet for the past 5 years I have been intrigued by the liturgical aspects of some denominations. I am drawn to the customs and traditions of liturgy as well as the mental fortitude it takes to concentrate so completely on the word of God.
A few years back I was privileged to hear Lauren Winner speak at Jacob’s Well. Subsequently I read her book, “Girl Meets God” and as I read it, wanted to convert to a Messianic Jew. Well, not really. But I was mesmerized by the beauty of Tradition that is so deeply rooted in the Jewish culture and religion. Their study of the Word amazed me!..and I was envious of their knowledge of the Bible (of the Old Testament, anyway!) Winner writes in her book of her journey through Judism and then eventually to her conversion to Episcopalian. It was at that point that I began researching and visiting Episcopal churches.
Now that I live in a metropolitan area, I could drive to any number of churches in the Kansas City area. But at this point in my life, one of my strongest passions in finding a church, is that it be in my community. I realize this isn’t always possible, but I do think it is the BEST scenario. It gives you a chance to truly interact with your community. For you to have an impact on your community and for your community to affect change on you. One of my “life philosophies” (when at all possible) is to live, work, and play (and worship!) in the community in which you live.
That said, I ventured into a new church this morning.
While some of you find this as a no-big-deal task, my little INFJ heart just about gives out on me to have to do something like that! INFJ……the Meyers-Briggs assessment of my personality: Introverted-iNtuitive-Feeling-Judging.
The biggest letter (and one that usually gets the most shocked response) is the “I” – INTROVERTED! I wouldn’t have totally loved walking into a new Nazarene church, but walking into a culture of traditions that I knew absolutely NOTHING about, was equal parts exciting and TERRIFYING!
But I had someone I had to be accountable to. Scott and I talked on the phone the day before and determined that we would both try out an Episcopal church in our respective towns, and then compare notes (it was his idea). Scott (most definitely an E(!)TFJ) was excited and ended up touring his church after their service and even went back to one of the pastor’s offices and chatted awhile about the church, their website, community involvement, etc…..
I knew I had to give him a report of my service, so I gussied up my inner guts and walked through the all-too-familiar, but completely foreign-to-me red doors into a community of warm-hearted Independence residents. I liked the pastor (vicar) very much – Mother Pat. She had a sarcastic and dry sense of humor. After church, she asked me the typical questions and asked if I had a background with the Episcopal church. “No.” I responded, “Actually, I come from the Wesleyan tradition.”
Without hesitation she shrugged and said, “Ah well. They’re just fallen Episcopals anyway!” and we shared a hearty laugh.
Others gathered around and welcomed me warmly. Many asked me questions and stayed around to talk – not just the obligatory ‘welcome’. Even a teenager (Alan, you would have been so proud!!) came up to me and said, “I like your phone.” As I lifted it to show her she squealed even louder and said, “OH!, I LOVE your ring!” – so we discussed the Farmer’s Market and Santa-Cali-Gon and the fun we both have with funky jewelry!
I will keep you posted on my journey to a new church home, but for today – I very much enjoyed St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
(Although for the record, SCOTT had delivered to him a loaf of homemade bread and a card this afternoon from HIS Episcopal church!! 😦 -ha.)
The grounds of the church are beautiful. And sitting inside, it felt like I was in a church in the countryside of England. It was a very comforting atmosphere.
Standing where I took the above picture of the front of the church and the sign, I turned around to leave and couldn’t help but notice the sign right behind me: