Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Home at the UMC

Our family has found a church home, after searching for several months. We visited a number of churches across various denominational traditions, from PCA Presbyterian to Baptist-like Conservative Non-Denominational, to United Methodist. Yes, we are now United Methodists! It was unusual for me, being adrift without a regular church family- I've never been untied from membership in a church for anywhere near that length of time before. I enjoyed the experience in some respects, (novelty and diversity have their own charms) but I am very glad to feel home again. I don't usually do things by halves- it may take me some time to come to a decision, but once I do, I jump in with both feet. :) Husband and I have therefore been reading and researching the beliefs and theology of our new family here, and we were honestly a little surprised by how much of it resonated with us.

 I love the three aspects of grace- prevenient, saving, and sanctifying- this seems to me, as I read it, to be a powerful balance of the sovereign grace of God and the free will and personal responsibility that are our duty, joy, and necessity as humans made in God's image.

 I love, love, love the liturgies we experience in the Sunday service- the Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed, the Gloria Patri- and we have begun to teach them to our boys at home, explaining the meanings behind them. Not that liturgies ever take the place of scripture or the leading of the Holy Spirit, but they are beautiful reminders and pictures of our faith, and they add a lot for me.

I love, too, the welcoming attitude to our children that we've found here. There is always a place for them here, and they are considered and provided for. I felt so at home, walking in for the first time and seeing a cabinet in the back of the sanctuary with activity pages relating to the sermon and crayons/quiet toys for the use of the little ones. There is nursery for the littlest ones, of course, but it's not requisite.

The Sunday school hour was great last week, for all of us- Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our group, as did our children their respective classes. Our kids love it here, indeed. 

The style of worship is one that personally appeals to me, and I find it both comforting and refreshing. Though I have not been in a Methodist church since college, and Husband has never been a Methodist, the music is largely familiar to us. In fact, I am more able to engage in personal worship and meditation with the hymns and liturgies than I am with the more open, contemporary worship- this is, of course, simply personal preference, but there it is. 

Do we agree with everything? No. Are there imperfections in this, as in any church? Of course. But we are home, and glad to be here.

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