Sunday, January 22, 2012


Laura, Amy,Katrina, and Eric

Presbyterian born and raise, Quaker Memorial is my home always. I was a member of that church for 23 years and, like Amy, I was there every Sunday. They are my family. Moving to Richmond and working night shift did not encourage me to find a new church. It wasn't until I was married (at Quaker) and had my son did the importance of church creep back into my mind. My husband was also raised in a church, Methodist but as he became a teenager grew away from his church. Being the over protective mother, I am uneasy with taking my son around to different churches to "find" what I liked. Leaving him with people I do not know would only make the experience painful. So I was delighted when Amy and I all of a sudden had a talk about finding a church. So many wonderful people we work with have a home church they love. So what a delight to go out with a friend in search of a home church. As you can see Amy and I had the same "list" of requirements. All kidding aside, I think we both are stuck in our home church and are afraid to venture to see what is out there.
Our first visit today was with a wonderful couple. I remember their wedding was one of the most moving I have ever attended. What an inspiration these 2 are and a breath of fresh air from the "norm". I have to say the same for their church. Commonwealth Chapel was nothing like the quiet Presbyterian service I am use to. Greeted by a full on band I was a little nervous, but what a delight. Like Amy, I did not know many of the songs, but found myself singing along. It was hard not to move to the music. Then came the moment that can usually make or break a church, the minister. Brandon Samuel stepped on stage and delivered a fun and entertaining sermon. #1 on my list for a church, capture my attention and make the sermon something I can relate to, boy did he deliver. Before I knew it the 1 1/2 service was over and I could not believe it.
I am looking forward to testing the waters at the many different churches we have lined up this year. I hope we can fit them all in! :)

Until next time, Laura

The sermon on self centered living felt like it was created just for me! Oh wait, is that self centered?

The time had come. Our first church outing was here! We would be attending Commonwealth Chapel with our dear friends Katrina and Eric Young. I really admire them for their faith and their genuine interest and support in our quest to find a church. I knew this would be a great start!

In the weeks prior one of my main concerns was.....what will I wear??? Now, of course there were other thoughts (where is my bible? How early will I need to get up?) but I was having a true church fashion emergency. Growing up I had a steady rotation of Jessica McClintock dresses I wore to church. As I looked through my four closets (yes, four!) I realized I don't have a lot of dresses appropriate for church. I don't think wearing the shiny one shoulder hot pink dress would make the first impression I was looking for. Nor did I think the congregation would appreciate my sequined party dress. And I knew wearing my blue BCBG dress, which I was wearing when a friend and I were approached and told "if you've got it, flaunt it" would be a big N-O. My closet was screaming "let's party", when what I was going for was "let's pray". After much digging, I finally found something that would work. It wasn't the cutest or most comfortable dress I owned but it would do, and in the meantime I would send an email to my J.Crew personal shopper that instead of outfits for trips, I need dresses for church!

Texting with Katrina prior to the service, she assured me the dress was casual. Also that the seats were plastic and that the service was over an hour (I guess people did pay attention to that first blog that I posted with our "criteria"). Laura picked me up and we headed over to Eric and Katrina's house, where we then made our way to Commonwealth Chapel at The National. I actually had never been to The National, so I had no idea what to expect. As we grabbed our seats, the second thing I noticed (the first being how extremely tall I feel next to Tiny Lane aka Laura) was there was a full on rock band set up on the stage. And this was not left over from the previous nights concert, this was for church! As they started to sing, I quickly got into it - they were amazing! I don't know if it was the setting or the drums, but if I owned a lighter I think I would have had the urge to pull it out and hold it up...Maybe break out a little air guitar? Don't worry, I didn't :) Since I was unfamiliar with the songs I really paid attention to the lyrics and realized I wasn't going to miss my trusty hymns as much as I thought I would.

Next, came the message. This was the true test. As a natural born daydreamer I have found this ability to be both a blessing and a curse. Many a church service I have attended with the honest intention to pay attention, only for my mind to wander off to other topics before I even realized it did. Next thing you know, church is over and I have spent 30 minutes thinking about where i should go on vacation next. This message was based on some verses from the book of Haggai. Have you heard of this book? I have to admit, it was not familiar at all. To quote the program "Haggai is a call to the people to exchange their self centered living for a life centered on the glory of God". Wait a minute - did they know I was coming? Because I believe this message was written just for me! What is going on? Oops, that sounds self centered. But seriously I truly related....the pastor was saying the focus doesn't need to be all about you, that living for Gods glory frees us from having to be the center of the universe. Before I knew it, the sermon was over and I had payed attention the entire time. Not only that, I felt I had understood and learned something. Upon meeting the pastor, I wanted to tell him that he had done what no one else had done before him, had me involved in the message from start to finish. Instead I told him, while looking at an adorable infant dressed in a fuzzy bear snowsuit, that I would totally wear that as an adult as I was so cold.

Hopefully the next message I listen to will include how to prioritize the thoughts you share....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Would you call this high maintenance?

It all started with a conversation at work with my friends Laura and Gina. Laura (my fellow blogger)and I had been talking about going back to church for some time. We both had grown up in the church, and felt the need to get back in the church going groove. I was raised southern baptist and had lived in the church every Sunday from am to pm from the time I was a a baby all through high school. I didn't know anything else....until I hit college! The belief in God never wavered, but church attendance came to a screeching halt (until I came home for breaks that is!). My one attempt to attend in college involved going to a Catholic church with a friend within walking distance of my dorm. Upon entering, I was asked if I wanted to present the gifts. Of course! I was so excited, envisioning myself handing out beautifully wrapped presents to church members. Only to find out later, in a very awkward moment, that was not what they meant......

So, that brings me to today...I have become one of THOSE people. The ones that only attend church on Easter and Christmas. The ones that sit in the back. The ones that hope their lack of church attendance will not be exposed!!! At least on Easter and Christmas when I am there...

Laura and I decided it would be one of our resolutions. Along with losing weight (my old stand by) we would try out different churches together in the hopes of finding one that connected. We told everyone at work. "You are going to get spiritual AND skinny?" our friend Sybil asked when we told her. Yes! Yes! It sounds so simple right? Start going to church. We know why it's important to go, why we want to go, and the real reason to go. But as I remembered a conversation from the break room last month, I knew it would not be that went something like this -

Me - I do not want to have to worry about parking. I don't want to have to take a shuttle or walk far.

Laura - I am not looking for companionship. I have enough friends! I just want to go to church and listen.

Me - agreed! I would like someone to notice I am new though. Maybe say a quick hello, welcome...but no more than that!

Laura - I do not want people talking to me during the service saying "peace" and shaking my hand. That makes me uncomfortable.

Me - me too! I do not like that! I am also not a fan of prayer benches. It is hard for me to cross my legs.

Laura - I also like a padded pew. I don't want to have to get up and take communion. I would like to remain seated and not share a cup.

Me - yes, and I need to be able to come in late without people giving me a dirty look. The sermon needs to be very interesting...otherwise I will daydream and write notes.

Laura - yes, don't just read scripture. Read it and then turn it into a story I can relate to. I want my hymns in a hymnal only. I do not want a program insert or loose paper. I need to see the notes.

Me - the sermon needs to be timely. An hour at the most.

Our friend Gina, who witnessed this whole convo, asked us if we were sure we were ready for church. "Sounds like God has his work cut out for him!". Some might think it sounds high maintenance, but we look at it as an important decision, and we might as well have some criteria going in. Of course, I know there is a bigger picture than all those small things...and if you find that, those little things won't matter, right?

Well, all except the padded pew ;)