Seeking Community: Presbyterian Church

Last Sunday, Chad and I went to the Presbyterian Church in our town. It is in our town, but it’s on the other side of the state highway, so I always forget that that part of town is still actually in our town. Anyway. This was a cute church. The little sanctuary was small and bright and cozy. There were probably just eight, maybe ten pews on each side of the aisle. The little chapel is white with a steeple and arched windows and doors. There probably thirty people in the service.

Their website says, “Our Church is small enough to take you, your needs and gifts seriously, and vital enough to encourage newcomers to shape the future rather than ‘just fit in’.”

I liked that. I don’t want to just find a church where I fit in, I want to help shape the future.

This church currently does not have their own pastor, so they have guest pastors who preach each Sunday. The pastor who preached when we visited–a retired pastor from a more urban area nearby–said he is often there, serving this little congregation. The service was nice; we took communion, church members shared  their recent blessings and concerns, and we sang from the hymnal. After the service, at least three different people insisted we join them for the coffee hour in the church school next door, so we did. I’m not great in these social situations. I don’t know what to say and I get nervous about meeting new people. But one woman, about our age, introduced herself and said she was from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a town near Messiah College, where Chad and I both went. As soon as she mentioned her hometown, we knew we had found a fellow Messiah alum, which was fun and gave us plenty to talk about.

I think what I liked most about this church was the people, who all seemed very warm and genuine and comfortable. It felt relaxed, like a group of people who enjoyed each other’s company and felt at home with each other. And that was really nice.

I believe we only have two more churches to visit in our town, a Catholic church and a Church of the Nazarene, and then maybe one or two others in neighboring towns, and then we need to stop visiting. We’re at a point in our church visits where I am starting to confuse the different churches and get lost in the differences and similarities, so I’m anxious to see where all these Sundays will lead us. I have definitely struggled at times with our ‘church shopping’ because I’m not sure if we’re doing something meaningful or just bouncing around without direction. But I do think that has been a really great experience, learning about different traditions and styles and meeting a lot of different people. I think slowly, very slowly, I am beginning to feel drawn again to church, which is the most encouraging thing of all.

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