Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Search is Over...

Quite a long time ago, I wrote A POST about church and my {rather conflicted} feelings on the matter.  I did attend the church I referenced in that post for about six months, nearly every week.  I even went to Sunday school, and I met some people there that I still remember fondly now.  For reasons I won't bore you with here, I fell off the bandwagon.  Life got very complicated for a time, and then our son was born.

Life got even more complicated.  Everything changed.

One thing that didn't change though, was that my spiritual existence felt very unformed.  Any time I thought of God or church or religion at all, I pictured a mental image of a blank screen with a little cursor flashing in the corner.  Like those old Compuware 486 computers used to do when you first turned them on.  Like, "Come on already will you please DO something?"  When our son turned two not that long ago, I started talking to my older sister about how I was feeling.  I told  her that I really wanted to start taking the little one to church because I wanted him to have a moral foundation upon which to grow and learn.  We talked about how we can teach our children morals but we really want/need a moral community within which to raise our children so that those lessons we teach can be reinforced by the broader "community" if you will.  We also talked about how many of our closest relationships over the years blossomed as a result of our shared experiences at church.  Call it divinity or whatever you will, but my sister had a lot of the same feelings I did regarding church.  Though we hadn't previously discussed it a lot, we had both been wrestling with it privately and wishing for a solution.

That was it then, we had to start going to church.  We enlisted the support of our younger sister, who has also been wanting to find a church she can attend.  Three sisters strong, we started church-hopping to see what was available.  The first church we attended, chosen by me, had an excellent children's ministry but left us all feeling a little uncertain in other ways.  We decided we would each choose a church per week until we (hopefully) found one about which we could all feel good.  The next week, my younger sister chose for us to try Unity Church of Ann Arbor.

As it turned out, neither of my sister's made it to church that week, which left me attending services alone with my little one.  Despite the slight, inevitable awkwardness of attending church alone, and despite the fact that I didn't know children's services were only available at the 11:00 service, meaning I had to entertain my two-year-old the whole time, I loved the church.  I found myself thinking that I really hoped my sister's would like this church too because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be looking any further.  I left there that Sunday feeling spiritually full, like I was ready to face the world and all it's complications.  My mind wandered back to points from the sermon several times that following week.  I felt not only like I wanted to be a better person, but also like I could be a better person.  I felt the way I always imagined my church would make me feel.  Since that time, my sister's have also attended--and become very fond of--the church.  We all sort of feel like we belong there, even though it hasn't been that long since we started attending.  The things I like best about this church are:

  • There are many different skin tones, both among the congregation and among the clergy members.  
  • They teach based on the foundation of the bible and Jesus but they relate it to today, to real life.
  • They practice meditation and mind calming techniques.  
  • They teach based on a set of principles that leave room for different interpretations.  
  • They don't have a "my way or else" philosophy.  
  • The church is not tiny but not huge.  I'm already beginning to know people and I don't feel lost in the crowd.  
  • They are open to questions and individual interpretation of their teachings.  
  • They love my little boy and have welcomed us with open arms.  

There are other reasons I like this church too but they can all be summed up by saying that I feel that I can truly be myself here.  I can come in with my questions, my doubts and openly seeking a stronger connection with God and that will be supported.  I can teach my son the things I believe and know that his spiritual journey as he grows will also be supported and nourished.  That is profound, and so far, so is the Unity Church of Ann Arbor.



1 comment:

Duck Hunter said...

I'm glad you found a great church home! The reasons you listed sound great.
Sometimes I joke about there being a church on every corner around here, but really it's great. If you want to go to church, you'll eventually find one that fits you.