Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dreaming A Church For Me?

Chartres Cathedral window.
I grew up in a Pentecostal church, Four Square to be exact.  As a young adult, I eschewed all things God, though I did eventually find myself comfortable in some of the New Age spirituality and ideas.

As I mature I don't really miss church per se, but I've come to miss many aspects of having a religious community.  While I've visited a few local churches and thought about what I value and want from a place of worship, my hopes fail that anything in the Seattle area will work for our family.

In my wildest dreams, what I hope for my family is:
- A diverse group. This means at least 50% people of color (heavily participating in leadership) and plenty of LGBT folks.
- Inclusive. I want a church that reflects my belief that we are all One - or precious in the eyes of God as the words from my childhood promised.  So I need a congregation that stands for, and works towards, the equality of all its members - no matter their color, abilities, or sexual orientation.
- Tolerant of varying levels of belief.  Pinning down my own personal belief system evades me.  If one is willing to put spirituality on a continuum (which I am, though many are not), I range somewhere between agnostic and New Age.  Tracking my hubby's current level of belief is even trickier than my own, in part because I don't live in his head. I want a community that supports and accepts each member of our family where we are right now. I dream of a fellowship focused on a rich spiritual life drawing from many of the world's wisdoms and religions without an evangelistic need to make one belief the right path.
- Really great music. Remember, I grew up in a Pentecostal church? I want singing, clapping and loud proclamations of joy during a worship service.
- Community focused. As in a congregation that supports the healthy connection of its members through offering potlucks, various focus group meetings (like marriage, singles, parents, anti-racism, youth), and family events. Ooooooo...  And women's groups.  I long for a warm, supportive women's group.
- For bonus points - Near my house. I want my church to be part of my community, too. Driving 40 minutes to meet with people I can only see during services because the overhead is too far to get together other times doesn't really work for me.

Living in Seattle, I've found many a church that mets some of the above needs, and fails profoundly at the others.  I've heard of a church on the Bay area that ticks off my list beautifully, and I'm green with spiritual jealousy.  Inklings of hope that a church like that will open in Seattle someday trickle through my brain occasionally.

In the meantime, I'll continue to dream. Now that I've shared my hopes with you, let me know if you hear of anything.


The Bug said...

My church in Cincinnati would have met most of your needs about 5 years ago. It's an Episcopal Church with a high percentage of people of color & LGBT folks. The Rector is a woman who grew up in the Southern Baptist Church (like me) - so there was lots of good music (Episcopals are NOT known for their rockin music). However, it's a VERY small church, so no women's group.

But now it's become a bilingual church with an emphasis on helping illegal immigrants. I love that the rector has taken on this mission, but it's changed the complexion of the church a lot.

I've moved & I still go to an Episcopal church, but except for the 50/50 membership of Caucasian & people of color, I'm not sure you'd like it. However, in general, the Episcopal church is a place that tries to be very accepting of all kinds of beliefs.

So I guess I'm saying good luck!

Kari said...

Congregational United Church Of Christ, depending on the location wheather it has enough non-whites, but the other qualities they all meet I believe. We attend: Good luck with your search!