Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finding faith for our family

Brian and I both went to church when we were younger (he was Lutheran, I was Catholic) but by the time we met each other, neither of us had actually been doing anything as far as religion went for many years, aside from the occasional wedding that included a mass (which totally counts as attending church, by the way) We were married in Heinz Chapel, by a Lutheran pastor and while our ceremony was religious-based, it was not a full mass.

When Jake came along, we agreed that even though neither of us were active in the church at that point, it was important us to have him baptized.  Back to Heinz Chapel we went (with the same pastor who married us!) with our BFF's Melissa and Dennis serving as godparents.  A few years later, there we were again getting Liam baptized, with my brother Nate, and his wife, Katie serving as godparents.



During those few years, Jake attended church-based daycares/preschools, so Brian and I were kind of patting ourselves on the back, we were all "Oh yeah....look at us, giving our kids some church based education at an early age!"

That was worked out well until this past year when Jake went off to kindergarten, and for the first time in his little 5 year old life, he was not getting some type of religion-based education on a regular basis.  And even though I had not actually attended church voluntarily in over 15 years and had never been particularly enthusiastic about it even when I was attending, I found myself feeling like we needed to provide that to him.

I had no idea where to start.  While we were both raised in a church, neither of us felt particularly tied to that religion enough to advocate for it, but we agreed that we were open to just about any religion/church if it felt like the right fit.  A search of churches in our area produced a short list of places that we wanted to "taste test", and I became the designated tester.  I took a few Sundays in a row, and attended services by myself.  I wanted to see how the services were, and also what they offered for children.  We were looking for something a bit more contemporary, but not too contemporary. Somewhere that would be able to teach the kids the things we wanted passed along to them, and also had messages of being open minded and respecting others. Somewhere that shared the views and beliefs that Brian and I already had for ourselves. Basically, we wanted to find somewhere that could provide to them a solid foundation of the history of the Bible, some moral lessons, and a message of love. 

After a few weeks, I found one that stood out above all the others...it definitely had the most welcoming vibe, delivered the messages we were looking for, and had a really active children's program.  The kids would be able to go to Sunday school during the services, which was a huge bonus.  We started attending in early February, and we've been really happy there. Maybe this will change later on, but right now the kids are excited about going each week and really seem to enjoy their time in Sunday school.

We were all happy with the decision to go there, and then a funny thing happened; a little unanticipated side-effect of going to church, if you will.

Sundays slowed down.  

They didn't come to a screeching halt because, well, we were still trying to move 4 people out the door and a lot of times we still had things we had to get done in the afternoons.  But the mornings?  The mornings slowed down to a wonderful, leisurely pace. Service didn't start until 9:15am; when you have kids who are typically up by 6:30am at the latest, that's a decent amount of time before you have to start getting everyone ready and walk out the door.

Sunday mornings morphed into what they probably should be. They morphed into time spent lingering over breakfast, rather than rushing through it because I was going to go grocery shopping/Brian was going to mow the lawn/insert any morning chore here.  The mornings morphed into extra play time for the kids, or sometimes even just turning on morning cartoons and relaxing and snuggling while Brian and I (GASP!) read the paper in peace. (ok, full disclosure: he reads the paper, I look through the ads and clip coupons)  It seemed like now that we had a standing commitment in terms of somewhere to be, it also gave us a chance to commit to slowing down and just enjoying the time with each other on those mornings.

Sunday morning relaxation
 We'll see what happens over time; maybe the kids will start resisting going to church (much like I did), maybe they will continue to enjoy it...but either way, I'm grateful that it's something the four of us are committed to doing together right now, and I'm thankful that it has given us the ability to slow down and make the most of our Sunday mornings together. 

1 comment:

Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife said...

I'm at the same crossroads you were at a few months ago. It's a relief to hear I'm not the only one feeling lost in the world of faith. I would really like my kids to grow up with some sort of faith based background but I just don't feel the pull of the Catholic Church right now.

Can I ask what denomination you ended up at? I've heard great things about so many denominations, it kind of makes me head spin.

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