We Joined a Church!

Hooray! We are now honest-to-God, official members of the church we’ve been attending now for a little over a year. And yes, it’s been somewhat sporadic attendance during shows, but still…. Hooray!
Last Sunday, we joined a total of 80 new members at St. Mark’s By the Narrows—wow. I’ve never seen more than 10 join at a time! Even the pastor was amazed at the new growth. At our service (there are three, and we like the early one), there were families, some older couples, and two of our very good friends. A particular friend was our “faith companion” who stood up with us, and “presented” us to the congregation in the special order of service. It was really meaningful to have her there with us. A beautiful (if early!) morning, and a fun day to share with friends (mmm, Sunday breakfast at the HobNob afterwards).
It was also a really important day for both the husband and I, as a couple, and individually. Even more important than our first major piece of furniture! We decided to find somewhere we could both call home, visited a few together, discussed what we did and didn’t like, and then found a good fit for us both. Oooh, and it was also the first time after the wedding that we’ve been introduced to a large number of people as “Mr. and Mrs.”!
On the individual side, our shared faith is one of the things we really value in each other, and in the ways we want to be good to our friends and families and community. And since both of us spent so much time in churches during our formative years (he’s a PK, I was a youth group music and theatre kid, clear into college), we were really feeling almost “homeless.” The official-ness of transferring paperwork and affirming our baptism with and in front of other members of the church just set things right. There’s a little lego of peace that just attached itself somewhere. (Bonus: Now his mom and dad won’t worry so much.)
I should also mention the other side of this: A formal introduction was also the formal goodbye to my home church, where I was baptized, raised, confirmed, and married from, just 3 months ago. I will miss my church family there so much… through worship, theatre, and service work, I made incredible friendships with the adults who helped raise me. They taught my confirmation class and 10 years later, I directed them in plays and went for beer after rehearsals. We sang in choirs, served community suppers, and traveled to New Orleans after the hurricane to help other churches get back on their feet to support their own communities. Through a host of people of really ALL ages, I learned so much about being a faithful, creative, focused, and patient community and family-oriented adult.
It will be a slow and deliberate process, but I can’t wait to begin building the same kind of relationships in our new church home. We already have several good friends from college who attend, and we’re signed up to be cantors once a month through March. And most importantly, I’ve been so impressed at the repeated importance of service and inclusivity, to our own church community, to the City of Tacoma, and to our global community. It’s a message of action, and of the joy in making bold, forward moment… and it’s a message I hope will always ring so clear in my heart as it does today.

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