My husband and I started looking for a church to join back in January of 2004. About once or twice a month since then we've gone to various churches in our area, mostly Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran. I think we've hit just about every Catholic church and most of the Episcopal churches in our city.
Last Saturday we went to the evening mass at a local Catholic church that a few of our friends highly recommend. I thought it was fine, there were plenty of things that I didn't care for (modern music, people in casual dress) but I started to realize that I just wasn't going to be able to find a church that was totally "me." On the way home my husband and I agreed that this would probably be the church we'd join. We weren't particularly excited about it but at least our long search would be over.
Then, Sunday morning, my husband suggested that before we pull the trigger we try one last church. A couple weeks ago I'd taken my regular commentor Steve G. up on his suggestion to help me find a church in my area and emailed him my location. He sent me back a wonderfully detailed email with his recommendations for the top Catholic churches in my area. There was one church that was far and away his favorite. I checked their website and decided that I wasn't interested for a couple of reasons.
But Sunday morning we decided to go ahead and give it a try since Steve seemed so convinced that it was the place to be. We thought of it as just a rule-out trip like we'd done with a few other churches that we were pretty sure weren't for us -- we'd just duck our heads in, glance at the literature and confirm that it was indeed not for us.
Interestingly, when we first walked through the doors I had a vague feeling of having been there before. I was pretty sure this was going to be it. We took our seats in the pew, my one-year-old son mercifully deciding to be quiet and just stare at the lights, and I started to look through the handouts we'd picked up. Those of you who read this post
will not be surprised to hear that I read this one flyer (below) and leaned over to my husband and said, "this is it."
[CLICK TO ENLARGE. You may need to click once on the image once it's in its own window to enlarge it again if your browser automatically shrinks it to fit the screen.]
(Wouldn't you know, this is also the one day that I dressed casually to go to church. I had horrible morning sickness that morning, none of my nice pants were clean, and I decided to just go with the flow and dress in jeans and a shirt like everyone else does these days. Oops.)
I'll write more about what I liked about it later, but I thought that some of my regular readers might get a kick out of reading that flyer about dress code. Not only do I agree with its message, but I find it refreshing to see pastors who will boldly stand up for what they believe is right and wrong without fear of alienating their membership. (Many of the churches I visited seemed to wuss out on big issues for fear of people not wanting to go there anymore.)
I'm surprised at how excited I am to have found this church. It's really made an otherwise abysmal week much brighter.