May 4, 2015

An SMC Family Goes to Church

Twice each week.  Three times if you count choir practice.

Henry plays handbells

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I love our church.  I am very fortunate to have found this place where everyone is extravagantly welcome.  My boys were baptized and later attended preschool here.   It's a joyful place to be and a very happy ending to a long story.

I was born into the Catholic church but did not find a home there.  When I was growing up, the children of divorced parents were an anathema to the Church, if not doctrinely, certainly in practice.  The Church's exclusion simply added to the separateness I felt growing up.  I made the sacrament of First Communion but not Confirmation.  I desperately wanted to go to Catholic school when I was in sixth grade but my mother said the priest told her no.  Decades later, I'm not sure I believe her but I did then and felt awful.  As an adult in my twenties, I inquired about being confirmed and was told I'd have to find a sponsor.  I knew no one in town, much less the parish.  So you see, "church" was a place other people belonged and I didn't.

Hurtful as these experiences were, in the long view I realize that they made me who I am today.  Given no other other option, I embarked on independent study.  Yes, it involved decades of church-hopping but it also involved a lot of reading and discernment.  For many years, more than I care to admit, I was Goldilocks trying on one denomination after another.  Too strict, too universal.  Too exclusive, too existential.  I'd read Statements of Belief, then attend services for several months.  Most of the time, no one--not a soul noticed me.  And that was okay especially if the church didn't feel like a good fit but sometimes it made me wonder why I even bothered worshiping in public.  Anne Lamott kept me company on my journey and other authors helped as well.

And now we've come full circle.  My sons attend a Catholic elementary school.  I pay twice as much as the parishoners and both boys are excluded from some rituals.  But when Sunday rolls around, they are included in all that is our small United Church of Christ community.  This past weekend, as I joined the communion procession,  I felt Henry's hands on my back allowing me to guide him up to the altar.  I've rarely felt so complete as I did in that moment.


  1. So glad you found a community that welcomes you and makes you feel so accepted! And I think you can appreciate it all the more because you know how it is not always a given.

  2. It is so good to read you've found a church home, especially after your beginnings. Good for you for keeping up the search.

  3. I've been going to a church for a while (I was not brought up in a church, so I don't consider myself religious in the least bit.), and Sidekick and I attend pretty regularly. I want him to grow up in the environment, since I didn't. I went to a different one last weekend with some friends, and when I later asked Sidekick which one he liked better, he said, "Ow chuch." How much do I listen to him? I kind of liked the other "chuch". It's definitely harder to find the right one than I ever thought it would be. Glad you found a good place and are at peace.

  4. I'm envious that you've found your church home. Not that I've actually looked for one...I kinda wish someone would just tell me where we'd fit in best and we could just go for the first time and automatically belong. I saw we don't go to church because I don't want to give up Sunday mornings at home, but the reality is, I'd love to give up my Sunday mornings at home for a church that feels like home.