First of all, thanks for the birthday wishes this past week. I can now officially rent a car, so I guess that's pretty exciting. Aside from a cold and some random allergic reaction, it was a low-key birthday, but Jared is the best husband. He got me a new mp3 player with video and FM radio capabilities to replace my iPod mini that died last year. Additionally, he made me dinner and got me cake and ice cream. I really can't complain at all!
Now on to the real subject: Easter, but more broadly, church.
Before we moved, we had been pretty involved at LUMC, mostly because we were leading the WOW service on Wednesday nights. We also kept up our ties at ELC since we had some great friends there. I don't think that either of us really felt like our spiritual needs were being completely fed at either place, but the church families that we developed were great.
Since we moved, we have been church shopping on and off now for about 7 months. It has been a lot harder since Jared had to work on Sunday mornings for quite a few months, and I really would prefer to try to find a church home with him. We have gone to small churches and huge churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentacostal, non-denominational, traditional worship, contemporary worship, and some blended services. Some of the churches have been really welcoming, others we have sat in the pews without anyone even saying hello. All in all, it has been a frustrating process that we're still not through with yet because we haven't completely found a place to settle.
I would be so happy if I could find a place like theWELL, but I know that probably doesn't really exist around here. I like hymns and all, but I find a more personal connection with contemporary worship; there are not a lot of mainstream denominational churches around here that do contemporary worship. I would like to find a church family with a thriving younger adult/college & career group for us to get involved in; for most of my life, many of my best friends have been people I have met through church, and I really would like to meet some more people in the area that we can be friends with as a couple. I really enjoyed being involved as part of the advisory team for the high school youth when Jared was youth director and would love to find that opportunity again. I have enjoyed helping out with Vacation Bible School in the past and wouldn't mind having that opportunity again. I know that a lot of those types of opportunities are probably available if we can find a place that we want to keep attending.
In the past, so much of my calendar awareness was based on the Church calendar: Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, etc. Since we have not fallen into a church pattern, my calendar now seems to be dictated by the academic calendar (registration time, summer orientation, beginning of the semester, etc); perhaps part of that has to do with the fact that I am just experiencing the academic year at my new job for the first time and am still trying to get a feel for the rhythm.
I definitely feel like I am in a dry spell spiritually. I loaded up my new mp3 player with a lot of Christian music, which has been a nice centering agent to my mornings and afternoons, but I need more. I would like to get involved in a small group or Bible study, and to be challenged by the weekly message during the church service. Perhaps during the next few months as we continue to settle in to our new lives in NC that can happen... I hope so anyway.