Church was not a part of my family's life. Sundays were mostly spent playing outdoors, watching TV, visiting with friends, and other similar activities. My mother had various reasons for not attending, but I think the biggest factors were some negative experiences she had at her rural Mississippi church as a child and a reluctance to admit her need (to anyone...even God). Despite the lack of a family habit, several middle school friendships drew me into the church around age thirteen.
In many ways, church was my salvation. It was the first place, outside my family, where I could be myself and people still accepted and loved me. During junior high and high school, Sunday was my favorite day of the week. Enjoying time with friends in study and worship re-energized me for the tough weeks I often faced at good ol' Watertown High School. In college, church was a time to get away from campus and enjoy time with people other than my classmates. We sang in the worship team, taught Sunday school, helped out with the brought dishes to the potluck, led the youth group, and became an integral part of the church community.
Near the end of college I began to weary of what I felt was a weekly obligation, a burden which I no longer wished to carry. For approximately two years, my church attendance was spotty at best. In Buffalo I had an excuse not to go because I worked on Sunday mornings, but once I moved to Arlington, I no longer had that excuse. Being completely lazy, I tagged along with Emily to the church she'd been attending for a year or so. Our attendance was hit or miss because neither of us really felt any draw to Cherrydale, we didn't fit there.
Finally, last summer, Emily began attending the Falls Church and I, once again, tagged along. What a drastic change! I finally wanted to go to church again. Sunday services energized and excited me like they hadn't in several years. It was incredible! After learning more about the church through a Discovery Class in the fall, I joined the choir and began attending the 9 a.m. service, where I fell in love with Anglican liturgy. Week after week, I was touched by the sermons, the music, the people, everything... Once again, I found the perfect fit.
I've only been at the Falls Church for a little over a year, but I'm going to miss it desperately. Moving to a new town and finding a new church is not a fun prospect. Finding a church that can follow on the heels of the Falls Church is downright daunting.
Pray for me, folks. Seminary's going to be difficult and I don't want to do it without a family...