2007 STORY #10 – TODAY I WENT TO CHURCH
Today I went to church. Sometime in 1999 I joined a church community, ten years after leaving my Catholic parish in 1989. I rarely attended my new church after the Boston Crisis in 2002. My connection to First United Methodist Church began in 1996. A friend of mine, who was an adult learner on the violin like me, invited me to come and play in a string ensemble at First United Methodist Church in downtown Jackson, MI. I played once a month with this group of fun musicians until the group disbanded in 1998. This was my first experience attending a non-Catholic service and it was strange at first. The community grew on me. I never tried to figure out why I stopped going to this fine Christian community since January of 2002. The community and I are a good fit and during these desert years they never ceased being friendly and non-judgmental. It’s not easy finding your way out of a rigid Catholic upbringing.
Last week on a Tuesday evening I got a call from a friend who attends my church. She asked if I would be a greeter on Sunday, November 11, 2007. I found myself saying yes, because I have been longing for community. And why was I not attending this fine community I asked myself. And I answered myself: I was not going because I was still waiting for the Catholic parish I grew up in to come for me because I reached out to them in recent years for help. I faced the fact that they are not coming for me. Also I have a new spirituality, a new understanding of a Supreme Being that was born through rage and tears at the God of my youth. The struggle is over; my connection back to spirituality and community is complete.
So Saturday night, I was free to prepare to attend the 9:00 O’clock service in the morning, and was instructed to arrive fifteen minutes early to greet members in the vestibule of the church. I was nervous when I left Sunday morning, but I knew that I really needed and wanted a non-dogmatic, Christian community. After I arrived and hung up my coat, a church member greeted me and said he would go and look for my nametag. I said I did not have a name tag and he left to go and get me one. He came back and handed me a nametag and said the pastor made the nametag for me. Quietly I was welcomed with warmth as though I came every week.