Monday, February 11, 2013

Church things

Running a campaign is quite a challenge, the money, the paper, the signs, the competition, it can be brutal. These difficult things are often countered with amazing things, like talking to new people, learning more about the City I live, and visiting churches I had never been to before.

I sat down with a minister to discuss my candidacy for school board early on. He invited me to his church, I told him that I did not like the idea of going to church just because of my campaign, I didnt like the way that felt. He advised me that as long as I come back after the election then the congregation would not mind. I thought this was good advice.

His was the first African American church I visited. I had not been going to church regularly before this visit, but post election it was one thing Chris and I decided to commit to (newspaper and coffee notwithstanding). I walked in by myself not having any idea what to expect, except a lengthy (I had heard) service. I immediately saw three people I knew. My friend waved me over and let me sit with him and his family. Visitors in African American churches are welcomed by the whole congregation later in the service. I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the 300 people in the congregation. The service was moving, with modern music and a message emphasizing education and youth. I left rejuvenated and grateful. I recently returned post election and it was just as moving and inspiring as my previous visit.

I attended many other churches, including two additional African American churches. I showed up early to one, and helped put the program together (volunteering to help always makes me feel useful).  At the other church, I was moved to tears by the brave and desperate people who were called to the alter to join the church. All of the ministers were powerful men of God whose messages were inspiring and the churches had large congregations as a result.

Post-election, we attended two churches before we found the church we currently attend. At one of the churches, I went to the minister with an issue, he uninspiringly told me that the option was to attend another church. Unfortunately, the second church was the same demonination as the first and I was thusly turned off the denomination despite the truly lovely people who attended the churches.

A long time ago (at least 5 years), my friend Mike told me somewhat reluctantly given our apparently different views, that he thought it would help me if I attended his church, he gave me some of his testimony so that I could relate to why he thought it would be useful. I took it as a sincere invitation but was not in the right place to accept it until last October. It was a series of events (as these things usually are) that led us to this church. I still struggle with the Sunday morning thing, but no one else in my house has to be convinced to go to this church. David and Ryan have a great time with other children while Andrew sits with me and Chris and is usually engaged and happy in the church.  I always learn something at church and am called to think more deeply about Scripture and daily life and I usually meet a really nice new person when we greet each other.

I am delighted, honored and humbled to serve on the School Board. However, the exposure to the amazing congregations in this town have given me more than I ever could have imagined.

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