The angels of the churches

There must be a link joining the churches I have belonged to – really belonged to, not just attended. The first was St John’s (Methodist ) Church Hereford. It was a big church, but it seemed to have a place for everybody. Perhaps that was an illusion. We sang loudly, happily. Set as we were in the Welsh borders there were many there, not just in the choir, who could turn their voices to most things. The worship was frequently a hymn sandwich. I loved the people.

And All Saints, St Andrews. Dear knows I disapproved of much in attitudes and opinions, but I always felt I belonged.

The Tron, Moredon. I belonged there no doubt. But I had a kind of function, being the assistant minister’s wife. I am not sure how far it counts.

I really belonged to St Paul’s (Episcopal) Church Rothesay too. At times it was a very very troubled belonging, and I can remember huge fury at times – but I always, or nearly always, felt I belonged there.

And now my Glasgow church. Well, not mine alone, I concede.

In between St John’s and St Paul’s there were other churches, some very good, others less so. In none of them did I truly feel I belonged.

So we have now established it had nothing to do with my sense that everything was to my taste, or in line with my opinions. My gentle readers are welcome to come back with suggestions. Dear ones – where have you felt you belonged and why?

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5 responses to “The angels of the churches

  1. Currently I think it’s to do with welcome – actually the Welcome that deserves a capital letter, that starts with the first 2s through the door (“hello, have a hymnbook”) and continues for 2 minutes, an hour and a quarter (with sound sermon in the middle), 6 weeks (“hello rector, you’re stuck with me”) and 6 months (by which time one is occupying a role or 3).

    In my time I’ve been a free evangelical (Carrubbers in Edinburgh), an approximately-evo CoE (Emmanuel Parish, South Croydon – which took a *lot* of searching before finding) and found a home at St John’s, Perth, during which time I turned into a thoughtful, if woolly, liberal.

  2. For me, Old St Paul’s in Edinburgh during Richard Holloway’s time. I was in a kind agnostic phase but he made faith seem exciting and important. I find it difficult to preach on texts that I’ve heard him preach on because I always hear his voice.

  3. Tim, are you testing out new mission strategies for the SEC?

    Join us: we’ll make a woolly-liberal of you yet.

    (personally, I think we should be aiming to create more sharp edgy liberals, but they’re too busy knitting to reproduce.)

  4. rosemaryhannah

    Welcome, Tony, great to see you here. Yes, good sermons stick in the mind, ring on in lives, don’t they?

    I’m with Wonderful Exchange on the sharp edgy liberals (though I need to declare an interest.)

    One thing emerging is sermons. I agree they are very important.

    Something else occurs to me. AFIK in all these churches, the congregations were in deadly earnest. I was surrounded by those who were committed.

  5. I’ve only ever belonged to one church – the one I’m in now. How odd, when I think of it. However, I feel at home in several – All Saints’, Hereford, St Michael & All Saints, Edinburgh to name but two. Both places where I’ve had positive experience in worship and good “extra-curricular” experiences too. Maybe it’s all these saints …

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