Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Closing The Chapter

Last year was an emotionally charged year. I became a Grandmother for the first time, I left my church, and I left my job. Some of you might wonder why I made so many changes at one time. Well, I wasn't really consulted about the Grandmother part, and with my job and church, I felt that I had to make a change to be true to myself. I don't think it's appropriate to get into the whole job situation, but I do want to say a little about leaving my church.

I have been a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). My mother's family has belonged to the denomination for generations, and some of them even helped found congregations. Even when I was in a congregation that was having problems, I never left. I transferred my membership to and from congregations when ever we moved, and once I quit going for a little while, but I never withdrew my membership and left the denomination. Well, until now.

In respect to space and time, let's just say I left over constitutional issues. It was a difficult decision, and I wrestled with it (and some church members) for a year. I thought I was fighting for the right thing, but what I found out was that God was leading me in a new and somewhat scary direction.

I wasn't the only one who left. Of course my family left with me, but there were also three other families that were engaged, active members who left. We all traveled around together visiting other churches, and looking for a home. I called us the "spiritual wanderers." We looked for a while, and then we found Countryside.

Countryside Community Church is a United Church of Christ. I think I felt at home there the first time I visited. I especially enjoyed the minister (who just came to Countryside in the summer) his sermon (which coincidentally was about being "re-potted") and the camaraderie between him, the associate minister, and the music minister. After I left, I went home and researched the UCC, and here is what I found.

The UCC denomination is a breakout from the original Christian Church which later became The Church of Christ, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and The Independent Christian Church. This is why I think I felt so at home from the beginning. The UCC teaches about love, acceptance, tolerance, and open mindedness. In other words it welcomes AND affirms Christians without regard to race, gender, socioeconomic status, nationality, or sexual orientation. This is exactly what I was looking for.

I could literally write a novel about the rejuvenation of my spiritual life, but I'll spare you. I will tell you that the more I learn about this new (to me) church, the more I love it. I'm trying to be careful about jumping in too quick, but it's hard when I've finally found something that has got me excited about going to church again. Now that I've left my old church, I am joining a new church, and a new denomination for the first time in my life. Al, and the boys will be joining with me, but Alyssa will not (That is another first which is better left for a different posting about adult children and letting go).

On Sunday I will become a member of the Countryside Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Now that God has led me through the rocky pass, he has set me forth on a exciting journey. I can't wait.

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