I went to a new church today….well the church isn’t new but it was my first time there so it was new to me.
I’m not going to lie, I haven’t made it out to church on a Sunday morning for some time now. There always seems to be a reason, or as some might say an excuse as to why I can’t go. I’m too tired, I have to take Erika to work, no one wants to go with me, or I just don’t feel like it, and any other number of
reasons excuses. Last week I had great plans to get up and get ready and go to church no matter what…..and then I didn’t. It was raining and Erika had to be at work the same time that church started and I didn’t want her to have to walk in the rain so I ended up not going so we could get her to work relatively dry.
This week there were no excuses, Erika didn’t work today, I wasn’t feeling so tired, there was no great work crisis, everything seemed to be going in favor of me making it to church today…..and I did!
I come from a Baptist background and was a regular church attender with my children when we lived in New Brunswick. When my kids and I moved here the only people we knew were friends and family of my husbands. He had friends that attended a Presbyterian church here so we started going to that church and we had our wedding there 12 years ago on December 30th. We attended this church quite regularly and I enjoyed the services very much, but as the kids got older and had to work on Sundays and their sports were on Sundays it became increasingly easy to use that as an
reason excuse not to go. I always managed to get there whenever my parents came to visit because I knew it was important to them to attend a church service on Sundays, but once their visit was over I quickly fell back into my pattern of finding other things to do on Sunday mornings……even if it was nothing.
This morning I was actually planning to return to this same church because it’s familiar to me. I Googled the church’s home page to verify what time their service was and I had a choice of 9:00 am or 11:00 am. I always prefer the earlier service since I’m up early anyway and (as bad as it sounds) to get it out of the way so that I can have the rest of the day to spend with my family.
Now I had my plan and all I had to do was get showered and dressed and be on my way. Well there happens to be a Baptist church just about 10 minutes from my house so my husband suggested that I might want to give that one a try. I couldn’t even remember the name of the church so I went back to Google and searched for it by their address and found their home page……Calvary Baptist Church. They also had two services listed, 9:45am and 11:30am. The 9:45am was definitely the right one for me considering it was the earlier one and the second service is in Mandarin. My Mandarin is not that good…..actually it’s nonexistent.
Walking into a new church, by yourself can be a little overwhelming no matter how familiar you are with “church” and so I was a little uneasy as I walked up to the doors. The first person to greet me was outside the door and my uneasiness must have been showing on my face because he shook my hand told me to come on in and suggested that I smile (so obviously I wasn’t smiling). It was really cold out this morning so I made a little joke that my smile was pretty frozen and then I ventured on inside. Right inside the door I was welcomed by 2 more greeters and then I took a moment to take in my surroundings. This church is a pretty large building and right inside the doors is a large area where everyone was standing around chatting and having coffee and juice. A new person sticks out like a sore thumb when you’re just standing there gawking around and trying to decide if you should continue to stand there or move on in to the sanctuary and take a seat…..didn’t take me long to decide to find a seat. I was handed a bulletin and then had to make the decision of where to sit.
I’m pretty sure this comes from my church background and the idea that ever since I was a kid the entire congregation pretty much had their specific “pew” that they always sat in and they didn’t appreciate someone new sitting in their place. You could always tell by the dirty looks that these people didn’t like change and taking someone’s seat meant they had to change. I took a seat and hoped I wasn’t going to be the recipient of any of those dirty looks I had seen members of my home church give unsuspecting visitors who had inadvertently taken their seats.
I had only been sitting a couple of minutes when I was welcomed again by a couple of more people from the church, had a brief conversation with them and was given a card to fill out with my contact information and was presented with a welcome gift of homemade jam and a pen…..getting presents is always good.
I have to say I really enjoyed the service. The message was “Where Is Christmas” and the minister spoke about Christmas Traditions and it was easy to relate to a couple of his family traditions growing up…..presents stayed under the tree all nice and neat so that they could be shown off to friends and family when they came to visit, and there was no present opening until after breakfast, his problem with that was the same as mine has always been…. “Why on Christmas morning are we having the biggest breakfast of the year and why is Dad eating so slowly?” He, like we, did not continue those traditions with his own family….Seems we had some of the same family traditions growing up….. Go figure, he is also a Maritimer.
Overall, I had a great experience at church this morning, the music was great….mostly Christmas music, which I love, the sermon was interesting and challenging with some humor thrown in and the people that I met were very welcoming and friendly. I believe I will be going back again next Sunday.