Today's shout out go to St. Luke's UMC in Houston and Tom Pace. We miss it/them him mucho! We have been asked countless times if we have found a church yet. And frankly, this is one of the hardest things to do. In the past 2 1/2 months, we haven't really been in town or available (guests in home) to go to church much. Sunday comes around only once a week, you know. We have visited three in the area--Suncreek UMC, Creekwood UMC and Custer Road UMC. Next week, we will try Stonebridge UMC. The amazing thing is that at everyone of these we have randomly seen and talked to an alumni of the Centenary College Choir (where Stephen and I met.) BTW, Yes that is Stephen in the top left hand corner of the picture.
Stephen and I both grew up Methodist and went to a Methodist based college, thus the draw to the UMC churches. It's a natural place to start, but maybe we are growing in our faith. Maybe we need to branch out and try something different--not necessarily a different denomination (but maybe), but I speak more of the traditional worship experience vs. the contemporary. We want to stay near where we live and work. We don't want to travel more than 20 minutes which severly limits the possibilities. We want a dynamic preacher with a message we can carry on our hearts and be challenged the week through. We want an educational, nurturing children's program with a fantastic, supportive youth program to follow. We want a worship experience in which we feel close to God and yet feel fulfilled musically and spiritually. And, we need community, a small group/bible study to be a part of. It seems we can't have it all--or haven't found it yet.
In addressing the traditional music worship service with the contemporary, I understand that everyone has their own tastes. But, with a classically trained musical background with much emphasis on choral experience, contemporary music is a VERY difficult thing for me to swallow. I like reading music, I like singing hymns, I like organ and choral music. Improvization, chord reading and learning music aurally doesn't come naturally for me. I need this musical outlet, but at the same time, does my spirit need to be fed the Word of God more? It seems I am leaning more toward the latter.
It's been hard to judge these churches due to their summer schedules. We have only seen one senior minister and haven't seen/heard a chanel choir yet. Cavett has only come out of one Sunday School wanting to go back. Creekwood seems to be the closest so far. We felt very welcome at that church; they went out of their way to come by the house with homemade bread and information about them. The music was tolerable in that they were a contemporary band but still did hymn arrangements that were acceptable and not cheesy and seemed to be a spirit led worship experience, not forced.
Like I said next week we will try Stonebridge next, but I hear it is very contemporary as well. We also went to lunch today and saw a group of young adults in T-shirts. After closer examination, they were members of the Allen Bible Church. I went home and researched them and read their Doctrine. Might have to go visit them as well, but they meet in a school, ugh! Then we will have to drive down to St. Andrew's UMC because Sid sent a raving email to the music minister there. It's more of a drive than we'd like, but it may be worth it.
All in all, I trust that God will lead us to the place where we will grow in His love and our needs will be met as a family.