So far we have tried 3 different churches in our hunt for a new place to worship.
I think here is a good place to add an aside
* It's important to go to church.*
I mean of course you should go to church but taking a few months off has really shown me that it's needed in my life and walk with God and Jesus.
Church #1 St.Aidan's Episcopal Church http://aidanvbva.net/
We attended St. Aidan's last summer. I chose the Episcopal church because they are very close to Catholic. There are A LOT of displaced Catholics there. Almost no difference between the actual services at all. They are a very lovely group of people. Father Mark was very open about discussing what they believe and why. All who are baptized are welcome at the Communion table. They run a very nice Montessori based Sunday school for kids. Their adult Sunday school is FANTASTIC. Lots of deep thoughtful discussions going on there. There are also plenty of opportunities to serve the community via out reach programs. There a a few reasons why we didn't settle there. I don't think I was ready. They are too much like the Catholic church so it kinda paled in comparison. They were also and possibly still are up in arms about allowing gay men and women serve as priests. I think at the end of the day I didn't want to go from one scandal to another.
So after St. Aidan's I took a looong break. Sometimes we went to St.Gregory's but I was left feeling empty and eventually we stopped going altogether. Oddly enough my kids didn't ask one time to go back. They did want to go back to St. Aidan's but I really think I just needed time to detox. We continued to do bible reading and a children's church here at the house on Sunday's so they wouldn't be totally without.
Church #2 Thalia United Methodist Church http://thaliaumc.org/
This was my first time in a Methodist church and I was surprised that they opened much in the same way the Catholic church does with the cross preceding events and the pastor following. This church serves Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sunday's so we got to witness how they roll and again it was similar to the Catholic church. The sermon was nice...a little light for my tastes but Devlin enjoyed it. Ava went to the children's church during the service. While we enjoyed our experience at Thalia Methodist we won't be making it our home base. It was a little small for us. Ava was the only child her age in her children's church class. You can't receive Communion until you are in the 6th grade and since Ava has already put her time in that was a deal breaker for us.
Church #3 Thalia Lynn Baptist Church http://thalialynn.com/
They have a fancy website with flash running so I couldn't steal a picture.
This church has a bit of a family history with us. Ray went there as a child when he came to visit his grandmother Jane for summers. He encouraged me to try them out when I began talking to him about leaving the Catholic church. He has good memories of attending there. So this morning we rolled out for the 11am contemporary worship service. Ray came with us. This is a pretty big deal for me because he's not a big supporter of organized religion. It's actually the first time we've gone to church together that it wasn't for a Sacrament. There was a very diverse crowd. Old and young from all walks of life. The music was good. (Right up your alley Stef-Jesus Jams abound) The sermon was great. Informative and thought provoking. The people were welcoming but not annoying. In short we are going to try again next week. And when I say we I mean Ray is going back too. Devlin was looking for something a bit more traditional but is keeping an open mind. We'll let them give Sunday school a whirl and see how that goes. All in all we are pleasantly surprised. None more so than me especially because Catholics and Baptists are on totatlly different ends of the spectrum on lots of significant topics...like BAPTISIM. lol. But you know me...nothing makes me happier than a heated discussion ;)
I'll keep you posted......