Thursday, December 6, 2012

Progress Report on Finding a Local Church

It's a month since I last posted about this, so I should keep you up to date.  
(Actually it's a month since I posted about anything.  But I warned you that the rest of this year would be pretty thin pickings ..... )

We have been attending the church I mentioned for six or seven weeks now and getting to know a growing number of the congregation. 
The church is warm and friendly and we have been made very welcome.
One box ticked.

Within the church there is a wide range of views and opinions - moral, social and theological - but nobody seems to be side-lined because of the differences.  

I feel that we could say whatever we think about almost anything without being ostracised or asked to shut up. 
This is so refreshing, and suits me really well.  Mature, unemotional discussion of different views on Biblical topics is not encouraged in many churches, especially in those that were "established" to promote or defend a particular doctrinal position or practice.  

Indeed if all churches were like this one in this regard we wouldn't need a new church or a new denomination for every different thought or opinion that exists or emerges.
As you know "churchianity" is not my game, so I am pretty fussy when it comes to finding a group of Christians (a church) with whom I can worship and serve God comfortably and freely, and who will accept people who hold different points of view (that can be substantiated from Scripture).
Another box ticked.

I caught up with the minister for a chat at the church manse yesterday.
He is a very different person to me.  Indeed, I have not served with another quite like him nor been pastored by one like him. 
He announced to the church last Sunday that he was a universalist (and no-one seemed to blink) and that the "coming of Jesus" is more a series of comings of Jesus, some past, some present, some future. 
So as different as we are, we are clearly on the same page in many things.
He is a wonderful man of God who will stretch me in new areas and wrestle with me in old ones.
Another box ticked.

The church is also very different to any we have been associated with previously. 
It's a liturgical church, bases its corporate life on a common lectionary which celebrates the "standard" church seasons, and has a strong 'social justice' emphasis and a multitude of active connections with the local community.
Those who know our Christian and church history will be wondering how we ever came to be even considering a church like this, led by a minister such as this, but we are sensing that God is moving us into a church family that will love us and teach and challenge us in fresh ways that will round out our preparation for service in the kingdom.
Another box ticked.

Will post again in a week or so when we take the final step and "apply" to belong.
Blessings, Barry

1 comment:

  1. Isabel and I have now accepted the invitation to have church name tags made for us. We now "belong" (in one sense anyway).
    The church is St Luke's Uniting Church in Highton, a suburb of Geelong right next door to Belmont where we live.
    All the boxes I discussed in the original post have remained ticked, and some now have double ticks, and we are looking forward to worshipping and serving God in our new church family.
    It's been a long journey of three years, but we finally have a church home.
    Blessings, Barry


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