Sunday, March 29, 2009

Is it really almost Easter already?

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.


Derek French said...

I know what you mean about feeling spiritually dry. Since moving to my village in August, I have attended church here twice. I really have no options here as there is only the one church, and it's Catholic. Nothing against being Catholic but if you're not used to that type of service it is hard to adapt to. Keep the search and try to find a place where Jared can pick up the guitar again. He's too talented to let that go to waste. Keep the Faith...I know I am trying my hardest to do so right now!

Anonymous said...

I suppose since I've found myself involved in churches vocationally since graduation, I can't really relate to the whole "church shopping" thing. But even being involved in church leadership lends itself to dry spells. Know that I am praying for you and Jared as you search for a faith community. I pray that God will lead you someplace where you can bless and be blessed. I love you both!

Sarah said...

Erin, I think that is part of the problem: since I grew up being the daughter of the music director and then the girlfriend/fiance/wife of the youth director, I haven't ever really had to go "church shopping" on my own before! It's funny that parts of A.Wardle's worship course that I took almost 4 years ago come creeping back around as I examine the theology and methodology of various worship services we have been attending.

Sarah said...

My heart goes out to you - there are few things more frustrating than church hunting. We spent almost a year doing the church hunt in Akron and still never found one we felt committed to and at home. We were fortunate to only have to look two Sundays before finding 5Stones at AU. The funny thing for me is how much less an emphasis I placed on worship style once we had been through the hunt - it almost forced me to expand my ability to worship in any style, because otherwise I became too critical and snobbish about worship and left feeling icky. Now I seem to be able to engage with God even if we're singing old hymns with an out-of-tune piano... and I like that place. Fortunately I don't have to worship to out-of-tune pianos. But you get my point. Hang in there - you'll know your church home when you find it. I'll pray that God will lead you to the place where you can find peace and praise in a body of believers. Love ya!

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