“Why do you go to church?”
Alex asks me this as we sit at the tiny table wedged into our apartment’s galley kitchen. It’s Sunday and we’ve reconvened after Sunday morning activities. Alex went to play baseball and I went to church.
After the post church change-out-of-nice-clothes-&-into-sweatpants dance, which I’ve been dutifully performing on countless Sundays since I could dress myself. We are now eating lunch.
In answer to his question I pull out the church bulletin, which I still have in my purse. It will probably reside in my purse till next Sunday when it will be replaced by another more recent bulletin.
Every church I’ve ever been to has one section in the bulletin which is my absolute favorite, and that’s the action page. Looking at this page I show Alex the many volunteer, and get together opportunities of St Paul & Andrew.
There’s dinners and fundraisers, opportunities to cook, and sort, and help and some opportunities to just get together and talk. I highlight the events I want to go to as well. Then I sit back, content that I’ve shown him the best church has to offer, but he is not satisfied.
“But none of these things are happening today, why did you go today, to hear the sermon and all?”
This question has me stumped for a minute. My parents took me to church as a child and I learned a lot from those experiences, from how to interact with adults to community organization and social justice awareness. Church was my avenue to staying connected with the community.
At Franklin United Methodist Church there is the Bazaar raising money for missions, and the 30-hour famine collecting food and money for the homeless.
First United Methodist of Chapel Hill also has a church wide Bazaar raising money for missions, and evening hot chocolate socials with other college students.
Wrightsville United Methodist has clam bakes and pot lucks all raising money for various causes, along with a get-back-on-your-feet program for recently homeless families, even holy yoga on Wednesday’s
St Paul and Andrew serves meals to the homeless and partners with previously incarcerated individuals to help them get a job once they are released.
Each one of these churches does so much more than what I’ve had space to list and as a church go-er each place has been a choose your own adventure. A place where I can apply my skills to help and connect with the community, but still, why go to church on Sunday’s?
After a long silence, I was able to answer Alex’s question with another question.
“Did you hang out with your college basketball team off the court?”
He indicated that indeed the basketball team did hang out when no actual basketball was being played. Sometimes they would watch movies or play video games or just hang out together, and for me, that’s what Sunday service is.
Sunday is a time to get together with all the people you’ve been working with and remind yourself why you did all that work. Service and Sunday school are times to reflect and connect with the people you serve beside. Get a chance to bond as a team and maybe do a little better on the court because of it.
I’ve obtained two items from every place I’ve lived, a library card and a weekly church bulletin. It only takes one bulletin, and no matter how long you’ve been in a certain place you can immediately connect to impactful and long lived service organizations.
Once a week I can get together with those same folks that serve meals and sort clothes, and take care of children and we can feel connected, not just to our work out in the community but to each other, and hopefully to God as well.
So yeah, I like going to church on Sunday’s. Methodist churches in every corner of North Carolina and in New York, have all been welcoming to me, and I’m pretty positive they would welcome you as well (if you’re interested.)
How do you connect to your community, what organizations make you feel part of a greater whole?
If you do go to a religious service, why do you go?
Let me know in the comments below.