Sunday, 20 September 2009

Church Search: enough already.

I went to choir practice at Nearest Church on Friday. It was a very modest affair, but all day Saturday I found myself looking forward to one of the pieces, and thinking "Can I really be bothered to go to Church-by-the-Station tomorrow as planned?" and in the end I decided that if I felt that strongly about it I may as well go to Nearest Church.

So I did that. I sang in the choir, and it wasn't spectacular but it was meaningful. I finally heard the vicar preach and I liked what he had to say even if some of how he said it was awkward.

Afterward there was a congregational meeting. I went along to observe.

I liked what I saw. The generosity and openness of Networking Organist appear to be endemic in this group of people.

The meeting was basically a look at some of the activities of the last few years and a bit of a brainstorming session about how people could contribute to further development of their "mission" and what they need in order to do so. It will be interesting to see what the follow-through from the meeting is like in terms of practical projects, but the work they've done in the last three years is significant. They seem to have a strong commitment to ensuring that the church really does serve the whole community in a welcoming and non-judgmental way, no strings attached, and from what I can tell are fairly successful in doing so. The idea that we should care for others regardless of their beliefs or background is one I value and I'm glad to have found a group of people who appear to share that value. I was also very impressed with the way the vicar and others handled things when one or two people seemed to be derailing the conversation toward a sort of blame game; I tend to have something of l'esprit d'escalier in such situations.

I'm not giving up on some involvement at Church-by-the-Station: I think there is work there that needs to be done and I may be the right person to do some of it. But I think Nearest Church is a community better aligned with my own values, and I find myself wanting to nourish and expand on what is already happening there.

Afterward, washing up teacups, I had a conversation which... which I can't talk about here, again. But I was told things in confidence which I had not expected, I was trusted by someone who doesn't know me well, because of the things I had said, the information I had volunteered first. It was affirming and challenging at once. I had not realised my words would make a difference in that way.

An awful lot else has been going on, too.

One week from today, Deacon Friend will become Priest Friend. Since I seem to know a fair few clergy these days, that label won't really narrow it down; I'll have to find another name for her on this blog. I went down to Leafy Suburb Church to sing in their Evensong service today; this made for rather a lot of singing in one day but was well worth it. I'll be there singing again next week for her first Eucharist (yes, the same day she is ordained a priest... something to do with conference dates I think). But if you'd spare a prayer for her and her loved ones, and for the other ordinands, I'd appreciate it. While you're at it a kind word for the vicar there (who has not been well) and her husband (who was injured in a fall a few days ago) wouldn't go amiss!

My stepmum isn't entirely well; one of those minor illnesses that in the old and unhealthy becomes more serious has left her with acute asthma.

Soon one of my compositions will be performed in public for the first time. I am hoping it will be well-received. Can't say more than that without breaking anonymity.

This time last year you would not have convinced me that I would be attending Christian services weekly (sometimes more), or looking for a church to call 'home', or getting to the point where not saying the Creed is starting to feel sillier than saying it would feel wrong...

I feel like everything is shifting, like I can't quite get a handhold. I'm not sure whether I'm falling or flying. I'm not sure whether it matters.

Sweetie is home and I am going to bed.

10 comments:

MikeF said...

I realise I've been reading this blog with bated breath for some time now, and have never so much as said, "Hallo, and thanks!"

Hallo, and thanks!

I love what you say about Nearest Church - sounds like my kind of place. I'm praying for your new piece's first airing - scary! But good...

Every blessing

Mike

The Exegesis Fairy said...

Nearest Church sounds like a really good fit for you. I hope, if you decide to make it permanent, you have many happy years serving and growing there.

Song in my Heart said...

MikeF, welcome, and thanks for your comment. Please do breathe though! Bated breath is only good in very short doses, and I tend to rattle on at length...

Exegesis Fairy, thanks. I've moved so much it's a bit strange to think of being anywhere for many years but I am hoping this will be a community where I can make a longer-term commitment.

Ernest said...

Song,

It is really good to read such positive stuff on your search for the Church which suits your needs.

You have probably found your welcome community which is marvelous news, but in a sense, it will not meet all of your needs, hence the continuation of the search for the place to meet others.

I hope that the Ordination and initial Eucharist goes well and I feel that your contribution, whether through performing or just singing will be very well received.

I will be thinking of during the next week or so as you move further on your journey.

Song in my Heart said...

Ernest,

I think you may be right that the community at Nearest Church won't meet all my needs, but it does feel like a good place to start. It is certainly heartening to be thinking about making a positive contribution there, especially after so many years of having no affiliation with any religious community.

I'm looking forward to Sunday; I feel very lucky to be able to add my voice to the others at Leafy Suburb Church for Deacon Friend's first Eucharist.

(Any chance you'll be at Southwark Cathedral on Sunday morning, too? I don't know where you are based...)

Ernest said...

I am based in Kent, so not so far from Southwark.

I am involved in a Parish Placement to discern a vocation, which commits me to my Parish each week, but there might be scope for change.

I would love to be at Southwark, but I fear that Service times in Canterbury, might preclude it.

I will think about it and see what I am doing first. I will know by tomorrow as I have a Parish meeting with my Vicar.

Song in my Heart said...

Ernest,

Please don't go out of your way to come to Southwark on Sunday morning! I had just wondered whether you might already be planning to be there, is all. I'm sure there will be a more convenient opportunity to meet at some point as Kent is really not that far from London.

it's margaret said...

"I'm not sure whether I'm falling or flying."

When I was trying to learn to ski, somebody told me it was really just a prolonged and semi-controlled slip --as in a banana peel.... When I finally lost my fear of slipping, I did learn to ski. --so, may it doesn't matter whether you are falling or flying.... maybe when you lose your fear of falling, you will discover that you are flying. Or something.

Blessings dear Song.

Song in my Heart said...

Thank you, Margaret.

This morning I was thinking maybe I have been falling/flying all along, it's just that now I'm a little more aware of it.

The view is dizzyingly fantastic...

it's margaret said...

Amen! Dizzyingly indeed!