I am in the process of looking for a church. A task I am finding quite daunting. I have never been a big church go-er. I believe that a person’s relationship with God is personal. No church needed. I feel church is more for a sense of community and belonging; you don’t need to attend or belong to a church to have a good relationship with God.
But lately I have been feeling a hole in my life. I have now been in Tucson 3 ½ years and I have no extended family or close friends in town. I am starting to dislike how isolated I have become. I have been brainstorming ways to fix this issue and started thinking about church.
It is very hard to walk into a new church all alone. It is even harder when you walk out. I am not good with small talk or meeting strangers. It takes a lot of courage for me to go to a new church. I want to find the right church for me, a place where I am comfortable but I am finding it to be a difficult task. I am not exactly sure what it is I am looking for, though I hope to know it when I find it.
I have tried three churches so far. The first was a Presbyterian church that I went to off and on for over a year. It is a nice church, traditional looking, a good size, not too big, not too small. This church really likes to mix things up, bag pipes one week, a skit for the sermon once. I never quite knew what to expect. I sort of liked it, but I just wasn’t quite sure it was right for me. The last time I attended they had a guest Pastor from some country in Africa. I could only understand half of what he said and the half I did hear I didn’t agree with. He talked about being a Muslim in his country and how horrible it was and how he and most of his family converted to Christianity. There is nothing wrong with the Muslim religion. The problem is all the terrorist and nut jobs that twist the Koran to suit their own needs. I haven’t been back to that church since.
A few months ago I went to another Presbyterian church near by. I liked the sermon a lot but in the middle of the service you had to stand for like 5 hymns in a row with a full band and choir playing. Very upbeat, kind of rockin’ actually. I felt like I was at a concert. It wasn’t a bad thing, just not what I have in mind for church. Looking over their web page they seem pretty music oriented and I am not.
I also attended an Episcopal service at the beginning of the summer. I blame this on the Jan Karon Mitford series novels (which I love). Lots of ritual, not a lot of cues in the bulletin. I felt quite the fish out of water.
So for the past few months while I have thought a lot about going to church I haven’t actually gone to anymore. Periodically I Google churches and check out their websites. I think I have found another one to try. A Methodist church (which, technically I am a Methodist) that has a meditative, quiet early morning service. Maybe this is what I need? Of course there is only one way to find out, the awkward first visit.
I tried to talk myself into going this past Sunday but I chickened out. For one thing they were voting on building a new center of some sort. Apparently this is a very big undertaking and I really didn’t want to go to hear a non-sermon about this huge decision. And 2nd their Pastor is getting ready to retire after 32 years of being with the same parish. Maybe it would be better to start with the new pastor? Then we can be new together.
Hopefully I will be able to screw my courage back up and try this church. I don’t want to let myself give up yet. The right place is out there, I need to have faith and keep trying. I’ll let you know what happens.