Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thoughts on Pre-conceived 'Church' Ideas

Being in the midst of Lent, a season of prayer, reflection and drawing closer to the Lord has me pondering on certain things. One of those things is where and how we as a family worship. Most people generally stay within the denomination they brought up, but for us we have had a bit of a different journey.

I was brought up in a Christian home - I am blessed to have parents who love the Lord and who faithfully raised my siblings and I in the faith. I was brought up a Baptist. I would say an Evangelical Baptist. DH and I were married in a Baptist church, our children were dedicated in a Baptist church, we were members of a Baptist church. 

Then we moved. Far enough away to have to find a new church. For a year we struggled to find somewhere that was loving and accepting, that was not a huge super-church (I don't do well in such churches, I prefer smaller churches where people get to know you and where you get to know and love them). Then one Sunday, DH had to work so the girls and I decided to try a sweet little Anglican church down the road.

That day we found our new church family. The service was so very different to anything I had ever known (in fact this was 'High Church' which follows the Eucharist with responses in the Prayer Book). But the teaching was sound, the people were LOVELY and the Priest loved God with all his heart. His love for Jesus just shone out. He was so patient with me as I questioned and asked about the Eucharist, the liturgical year, about why they did certain things. 

It has been from this point on that I have loved the Eucharist and loved observing the liturgical year. It seems to add such depth to my faith. Of course I can see how following the order of service can lull people into simply responding from rote - but for me, perhaps because I was not brought up in the Anglican church, it is beautiful, meaningful and precious. I love to worship in this way. 

A friend of mine remarked a while ago that she was really surprised to learn that we came from an Anglican church - and High church at that - because of our living relationship with Jesus and how we live out our faith. I in turn felt surprised that she was surprised LOL. I can see what she means, like I said, I suppose it is easy to just attend church and follow the order of service and not really have a living relationship with Jesus. But that simply is not true - not of me and not of many people within the Anglican communion. 

I had another comment left on my blog last year by a dear reader where we debated the celebration of Christmas.  I suppose my friends comment and my dear readers comment has set me to thinking down this path and ultimately to this post.

How do I view myself? I guess I consider myself and Evangelical Anglican :o) Can there be such a thing? I wonder. But for me it's not about what denomination I belong to, whether I find following an order of service preferable to a less conservative way of worship. It's about one thing and one thing only. That I believe that Jesus Christ died for me, for my sins. That I love the Lord with all my heart, that I strive to live my life according to His Word and pray that I might get a little better at it each day. I want to be moving forward towards Him. I don't feel that one denomination has worship all sussed out and the rest have it all wrong. I find that concept just - well, rather judgmental - not something any of us can afford to be.

 I have been raised in a Baptist church, attended Methodist churches, Evangelical churches, and even a Catholic church. As I looked around me each time, I saw and met people who LOVE Jesus, who believe in Jesus and who are striving towards the same goal as I am. Of course I have seen things that I might not agree with, but those things have not come out of any one single denomination, there are things in EVERY denomination that might not be quite right and here's the reason why ... because where there is man - there is sin. We quite simply all fail, which is why we need Jesus. I try to weigh everything up against scripture, if I see something that seems 'off' to me, I go and see what God's Word has to say. I don't just accept everything because someone says so.

In our family we have a bit of a mix. Our girls attend the local Evangelical Church's Youth group on a Tuesday evening.  As a family we attend our local parish Anglican church {seen above} - which we can see and hear {the bells ringing} across the fields from our home.  If the Anglican churches in England made provision for young teen people (which, sadly,  they generally don't do, they sit in the service) , then our children would attend within our parish church. However, there are plenty of ways for our children to serve within the Anglican church and which we encourage them to so. Service in God's church (no matter the denomination) is a good and right thing. Every so often we visit the Evangelical church for a service, it is the church we first attended and we do have friends and links there. It is lovely to visit other churches and worship with Christians of other denominations. I think that it helps us to accept our brothers and sisters in Christ. After all - no matter what denomination you are, we are all in agreement with one thing, that we need Jesus :o) We are a family of faith...

Blessings in Christ



  1. Thank you for such a thoughtful post, Shirley!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it Carina :o) Thank you for commenting.

  3. Thank you. We attended an Anglican church in Hong Kong and loved it. Pondering where we will attend when we move. BTW I don't think we will be that far from you.

    1. Oh really Beth? Where about are you moving to?


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