church, god, united methodist church

The Church I Remember

My siblings a LONG time ago
Not necessarily related to this post other than maybe I remember something from way back when… and a picture of us as cute kids makes me feel better. 😉

I remember standing up front in the old sanctuary with all the other little kids singing in the choir. I remember singing “swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home” but what stands out more is “great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts.”

I remember some kind of gathering in that same sanctuary — now fellowship hall — eating biscuits and gravy for the first time. I also remember talking to my imaginary friend (Seffal) in that kitchen near the refrigerator.

I remember vacation Bible school, sitting in the Sunday school room watching the teacher explain a Bible story with flannel characters on a flannel board. I remember climbing into the youth room — it’s like it was really hidden or something, like we had to crawl through a room? My memory is hazy. But I remember thinking they must be so cool, all those big teenagers that get to hang out in this room.

That was also the church where my dad turned forty and I remember the bulletin board was covered in black and said “Lordy, lordy, the pastor’s forty!” That hits a little close to home this year!

I don’t remember this personally, but I remember my mom telling me how she kept me in a bassinet in her office after I was born. I remember her saying that I was her best sleeper. I literally grew up in the United Methodist Church.

I remember when my parents moved to different churches. As far as I knew, all churches had two pastors who happened to be married, but apparently that’s not the case. My mom went one way, my dad the other.

I remember taking confirmation class with my dad. I remember having horrible cramps one Sunday morning and moaning to myself on the couch in the Sunday school room while everyone else was upstairs in the sanctuary. I remember dancing around the altar with women of all ages. I remember meals and plays and love surrounding my time in that church.

I remember my mom’s fortieth birthday party, which was held in the community room of the church she was pastoring at the time. Fortunately, no pictures can be found — I was going through a Debbie Gibson phase. I remember caring for one of the pastor’s children during worship and being told that I don’t need to leave the sanctuary if he gets noisy.

I remember leaving these churches. I remember how much I hated the itinerant system (not knowing that was the name). I remember not wanting to attend this new, big church and slowly falling in love with the people there. I remember leading retreats for youth younger than me. I remember being mentored. I remember talking to my youth minister when it felt like my family was falling apart around me. I remember Bible study with my friends in a dark room with the candle light shining on their faces.

I remember going to summer camp with other United Methodist kids. I remember some people spoke about God differently than I did. I remember that some people acted differently in worship than I was used to. I remember experiencing my heart becoming strangely warmed over a campfire one night and it was then I knew that everything had changed.

I remember sitting on the floor in the campus house my freshman year of college sharing communion led by the United Methodist chaplain. I remember visiting the Wesley House when I transferred to a different college my sophomore year.

I remember the youth minister of my church coming to my house in Muncie to ask if I’d like to come work with him after graduation. I remember thinking “this is what I’m meant to do.”

I remember leading youth through confirmation classes, trying to help them understand that they don’t have to understand it all, that I don’t understand it all. I remember seeing their faces when they solemnly took the vow to support the church — their church — with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

I could go on and on and on about all the things I remember about my church because I’ve been part of this denomination since I was born. My whole life is full of memories in the United Methodist church.

This is the church I remember. The church that cared for me and loved me. The church that welcomed me and supported me. The church that held its arms wide open each time I returned. The church that said all are welcome and all are loved. The church that said you are a beloved child of God. That is the church I remember. That is the church I will hold on to. That is the church I love.

peace.

United Methodist Church cross and flame with rainbow

11 thoughts on “The Church I Remember”

      1. I am sure. You and I don’t agree with each other from what I gathered. But I want you to know that I do love those in the LGBT crowd. I do think that we can learn to follow Jesus and Scripture together. I do believe God has a plan for every life. I do believe that every person has a purpose. I do believe now is time for prayer, reflection, seeking, Scripture, and love. It is time to move forward.

        Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anne it is honestly something I struggle with. I get caught up in passion with this topic. A lot of times it is hard for me to breathe, take a step back and evaluate what I am saying and as a result sometimes my words don’t convey my heart so thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think a lot of people feel the same way. We rush to respond before taking a moment to really listen/read. There’s a lot of fear… everywhere. So many people respond out of fear instead of genuine interest and love. But it’s hard when you feel so strongly about something. I get that. I try to remember that the other person feels just as strongly as I do… and if I want them to hear what I have to say, I need to listen to them with an open heart and open ears, with the hope they will offer the same gift to me. It’s hard. All of it. But I appreciate people like you who are willing to have the conversation. (Maybe you can help me decipher the comments from my last post?! lol I really have no idea anymore!)

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  1. Anne, this post made me cry. Because for me, in many ways, the church has been my home too… and I’m grateful for the beautiful way you narrate that relationship. I am confident it will take me some time to know how to tell this part of my story as a methodist.

    Liked by 1 person

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