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This thread is just for those of you who do go to a church or religious meeting. If you don't go to church, I don't want or need to know why.<br><br><br><br>
So, I'm just curious...<br><br><br><br>
What kind of church do you go to? As in not just what religion or denomination, but what is the style and atmosphere? What's the music like? What are the people like? How big is it (size & people)? What do you like most about your church? What don't you like about your church?
 

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St James the Apostle Church...Roman Catholic...the building itself is somewhat more modern than the old traditional style buildings and semi-circular in shape. I prefer the older style of construction however. We have an organist and guitar player. Most of the songs sung are traditional hymns with a few new ones thrown in. Occasionally a woman comes in and plays the harp which is an absolute treat. She plays and sings beautifully. Because I did not grow up in this area, I never got involved with any of the church groups. That's my fault, I'm not one to reach out and join an already established group by myself. I do see the same people every Sunday since I mostly go to the same mass every week which is 7:30 a.m. Since I have been here ten years, I love how I've seen some of the little kids grown up to be teenagers...it's amazing. For the most part the people are very friendly on a casual basis. I did like it better in my old church but that is because I was there for 42 years before moving and had personal relationships with the other church members.
 

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That sounds like a nice church karen.<br><br>
Life2k, how big is your congregation? I can't decide if I'd like to go to a big church or a small church... One that I like is gccwired.com which is huge and has amazing services (I just watched one online) and seems service-oriented (very important to me) but I'd be afraid you'd never connect with anyone in a church like that. The other downsides are that I get the impression it's a 95% white congregation, and they aren't gay affirming (though they don't seem to make issue of it). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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kpickell..what denomination did you attend in your previous church-going days?
 

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Baptize Mormon at age 13. Attended for a short time. Started attending about 15 years ago after I gave up alcohol, Attend for periods of time, then off again, then on again. Been working 6 days a week, as much as 60 hour per week, for some time now, so Sunday being my only day off I sometimes do other things. Great Church though.
 

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We've been attending <a href="http://www.celebration.org/" target="_blank">Celebration Church</a> (non-denominational) here in Jax. But I've not been inspired to go, so I'm thinking it isn't the right fit.<br><br><br><br>
The music is amazing with a full band and lots of singers. The kids church has a mini sanctuary where they go through all the stages of real church (kid-style) and then do their little group classes.<br><br><br><br>
It reminds me a lot of my <a href="http://www.ginghamsburg.org/" target="_blank">old church</a>, but there is something missing that I just can't put my finger on. It looks like I will be back to visiting churches again.
 

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I go to <a href="http://www.olvchicago.org/" target="_blank">Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church</a>. It's the parish I grew up in. I never "loved" going to church per se, but if I have to go, I prefer to go here. It's home to me.<br><br><br><br>
In high school we moved to the suburbs. I hated the church. It was "modern". There was no stained glass, no statues. There was a picture of Jesus in overalls on the alter (wtf). You had to hold hands during the Our Father. That was the day I stopped going.<br><br><br><br>
When I moved back to the old hood about 3-4 years ago, I started going back to OLV. It is a traditional RC church complete with choir, etc. The church itself is beautiful. The people are people I see from the neighborhood, some I've known since I was a child.<br><br><br><br>
I would say there are about 300+ people at any given service but that's just an estimate.<br><br><br><br>
I suppose you could say I just go there out of tradition. Sometimes I really dread going but I don't know if it's the church itself...I think I just hate obligation lol. There is another church a few miles from me, St. Tarcisius that I may check out. The old pastor from when I was a kid is a priest that so it would be cool to check it out and go say hi!<br><br><br><br>
I have attended other kinds of churches. The non-denominational type with 20,000 people in the service scare the life out of me. I went to a Baptist college for a semester and was forced to go to services every week. I didn't like that either (I'm a sucker for tradidion. Having a Christian rock band on the stage didn't cut it for me)
 

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Kel, We have about 300 on the rolls and they take turns coming in 200 at a time. Everyone knows everyone. I don't know if the rank and file would be gay accepting, but the pastors wouldn't tolerate any rudeness or unkindness toward anyone. A person who did would get called to the "Principal's" office for a strong talking to.
 

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Our church has about 500 members, but lots of activities and small groups that a person can easily find a good 'fit' with and join if you want - so you do get to know people easily if you're even involved a little bit.<br><br><br><br>
Our actual denomination is known for being painfully conservative, but I have to say this particular church congregation really doesn't fit the mold.<br><br><br><br>
**I'm not sure I'd choose this particular church on my own, but my kids love it, which is the most important thing for me right now. It's the religion I was raised in, and we went regularly when I was married and the kids were little, so they've "grown up" here and feel very connected.<br><br><br><br>
They also attend the local church-sponsored private school (because their grandparents pay for it) so they've made lots of close friends and are always wanting to attend functions and activities.<br><br><br><br>
There's an active youth group at the church that my older girls are a part of and a really COOL "children's church" for my littlest sprout. I actually teach the crafts in the children's church and rarely attend the "adult" services, but they're pretty "modern" (not really the word I want) and a wide range of people seem to enjoy them. There's two services, a more laid-back "family service" with a lively Praise Band and a young, upbeat, interesting preacher, and a "traditional service" which is somewhat more classic "church" with some hymns and such, but still more contemporary than many services. They also bring in music groups and speakers fairly often for a good variety.<br><br><br><br>
**(I'm a little vague with names and such, 'cause I don't like sharing too much specific info, having to do with my kids, on the 'net)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>IamJen</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
kpickell..what denomination did you attend in your previous church-going days?</div>
</div>
<br>
I've attended all kinds, but my main church homes were Pentecostal in nature. But I think I'm more at home in United Methodist churches, especially when they're service-oriented. My beliefs are more in line with Unitarian Universalists, but I did not enjoy the services at either one of the UU churches in our area. I also like the worship and preaching styles of black gospel churches. I think the church I mentioned above, Granger Community, appeals to me because it's a united methodist church with upbeat services, high tech, is very service-oriented, and doesn't seem to be infatuated with money like some of the megachurches. I have gone to the gay-affirming UMC church several times, but the services are very traditional which doesn't appeal to me. There is a gay-affirming pentecostal church about 45 minutes away that I've contemplated going to, but their services are in the afternoon which is hard for me because I work 3rd shift saturday night and am dead tired by then.
 

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Grew up in a "Reformed" church.<br><br><br><br>
Currently attend a <a href="http://www.metrosouthchurch.com" target="_blank">non-denominational church</a>. It has also been called Evangelical Free by a few people but it stands on being a "Bible Based Modern Church."<br><br><br><br>
Pretty awesome. Great sermons. Great music. Funny skits, dramas, video clips. Every week you can feel the spirit moving around that place.<br><br><br><br>
ETA: I've been a member since it's inception around 6 years ago. It was planted from another church in which I was part of the youth program. Started with around 20-50 people, to now around the 400-500 mark.
 

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I'm a UU. We have a nice congregation here in Richmond, VA, but it does seem to appeal to more older folks. It's a very nice, very smart congregation, with a heavy emphasis on service projects and community activism. Great music, too!
 

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<span>I'm currently not attending any sort of church service for many, many reasons, but two of the many I've been to really were ones that if I was more into believing and such, I'd see myself in.<br><br>
The first was an Episcopal/Anglican church that was pretty large. Mass was always full and the people were really nice and welcoming, unlike certain places I've been to. The priests were really cool people, and I just adored the services, even with the endless amount of kneeling it seemed. It wasn't quite Catholic, but wasn't the Lutheran services I've been forced to go to all my life.<br><br><br><br>
The second was a suprising one. It was a tiny, tiny church in the middle of nowhere, a United Church of Christ congregation. The pastor was amazing, and the whole congregation was great. I didn't really like the service structure (however, the sermons were amazing) but the whole church (one I originally thought would be a conservative gay-bashing group of people) were quite liberal and accepting of everyone, which just made me like the place even more. I really felt at home there, and even though I didn't have any real place being there, I still liked going.<br><br><br><br>
I really think it's the people that make the church.</span>
 

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I attend two churches, one here in Augusta on holiday (and for years growing up) and one in Bton. Both are Anglican/Episcopalian, and both are traditional services with very good classical/traditional music. Just to clarify, the music is the reason I attend... It's a job, but a very enjoyable one! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br><a href="http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/aeoliancantatrice/detail?.dir=92e2&.dnm=443a.jpg&.src=ph" target="_blank">The church in Augusta</a><br><br><a href="http://chronicle.augusta.com/images/headlines/111304/37884_512.jpg" target="_blank">The new parish hall at the Augusta church</a><br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.bloomington.in.us/~trinity/Images/trinityphotoside.jpg" target="_blank">The church in Bloomington</a><br><br><a href="http://www.bloomington.in.us/~trinity/Images/trinityphotofromlibrary.jpg" target="_blank">Another of the Bton church</a>
 

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I was going to suggest a UU congregation, kpickell. When I was going through my "searching for religion" phase, they were the group that had some appeal to me. They draw practices from many faiths, and seem much more open to discussion than many of the Christian sects I was familiar with. The group that I visited in MI and IL were very socially active too. I noticed when talking with folks though, in IL, that they tended to be surrounded by a stereotype of being elitist. That may be just that though...a stereotype. The folks in MI, I ran into often at other community events, and they seemed perfectly nice. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>katt</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I really think it's the people that make the church. [/color]</div>
</div>
<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/yes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":yes:">
 

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I was raised UU but always felt more Universalist than Unitarian, if that makes sense. After we married we attended the Episcopal church because it reminded of of attending C of E services in England. And we missed England so much and wanted to be there. But it never really made us feel warm inside--it left us cold. But we loved the priest and the people. We went several years not going anywhere (much to the horror of my in laws who I'm sure thought was my influence) but in 2002 for our 10th wedding aniversary we came to Wales for a month to study children's literature and we picked up a pamphlet about the Quakers and we knew we had found the right thing for us. Everything it said about social action, simple living and a relationship with God directly (not through a priest) were amazing. We had never liked church where you had to sit and listen to someone else drone on and on (and occationally stand and sing a dreary hymn) or listen to a loud rock band in worship either. The idea of silence apealed to us as a way to know God better through direct contact. Anyway...we decided we wanted to be Quakers but when we returned to Louisiana the closest meeting house was a 2 hour drive and we just couldn't do it. So for 2 years we were Quakers in our hearts and met in silence together.<br><br><br><br>
Now that we live in England we are members of a lovely meeting house. There are probably no more than 50 people on the roll with on average 15-20 attending at a time. As all Quakers we are lay person led and everyone has to do their part. We are the youngest of the adults who attend. There is something deep and mystical about sitting in silence and hearing the collected breathing of others and feeling this powerful magnetic charge in the room as everyone focuses their mind on God. We have unprogramed worship meaning you only get up to speak if you feel a leading like you should. Sometimes there is lots of ministry and sometimes none. We are part of the Sikh/Christian alliance and do a lot with fairtrade and volunteering. We also have a group that gets together and writes letters for Amnesty International.<br><br><br><br>
I love it because we have simplified our lives so much. We sold all our belongings to start over a new life across the ocean and now have just what we need not everything we see. We both dress in a plain manner (for me plain is not about colour but not following fashion trends, buying fairtrade clothes). Most of my warm weather shirts are this amazing hand dyed ethnic cloth handmade in a women's cooperative in Sri lanka. They are plain in the sense that they are all like loose smocks without fiddly buttons or adornments) I am trying to collect fairtrade winter clothes as well.<br><br><br><br>
Quaker seems to fit us like a glove. It would not be for everyone but I know this is where we belong. If you like the idea of justice and comunity work with people who will be honest and not deceptive and a closesness and direct personal relationship with God then maybe look into a meeting house.<br><br><br><br>
To read more about Quakers (it can be a bit unfamiliar if all you know is the Oatmeal--ha ha) i've included this link. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Society_of_Friends" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religio...ety_of_Friends</a>
 

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Growing up, my family and I attended several nondenominational churches(read: pentecostals/fundamentalists who don't want to be accountable to any other churches), but when I was 12, we started going to a Mennonite church. I'm still there, 11 years later. I think you and I have talked before about who the Mennonites are, kp, but for those who don't know, Mennonite does not = Amish.<br><br><br><br>
For that matter, New Order and Beachy Amish do not = Old Order Amish. The Old Order is the strictest group, the ones who drive buggies and wear bonnets, don't use electricity except in the barn, and on it goes. New Order and Beachy Amish are often confused with conservative Mennonites because though they wear plain clothes, they are not as "painfully" plain as the OO's. New Order and Beachy Amish drive cars and participate in society much more than OOs do.<br><br><br><br>
But, most Mennonites aren't that conservative. You'd never know it because we tend to blend in with everybody else clothes-wise, we drive cars, use electricity, turn off our cell phones and pagers before the sermon starts, work in any number of professions aside from farming, etc. Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites (a very small group) and the Church of the Brethren make up the Anabaptist movement. The Anabaptist movement began about the same time as the Protestant Reformation (Martin Luther, et al) but most Protestants did not consider Anabaptists to be part of them because of the Anabaptists' practice of rebaptizing adult believers, pacifism and dedication to service.<br><br><br><br>
Those three characteristics are still true today in the Mennonite church. We practice infant dedication, and if you want to be baptized, that's your choice as a teen/adult. While pacifism is the official church theology, it's probably half-and-half in my congregation. More people in my parents' generation are pacifists than those in mine, in my experience with this denomination. But, I'm one of the 20-something pacifists. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Service is <i>huge</i>, and this part I know you'll like, kp. This weekend is the annual Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale, a two-day wood and quilt auction to raise money for Mennonite Central Committee's worldwide efforts to improve living conditions for the poor. It's the sixth year of Penny Power, in which people donate their spare change to put water filtration systems in orphanages in Third-World countries. Ohio alone collected $22,000 this way last year.<br><br><br><br>
I have been on so many service trips with my church I cannot remember them all off the top of my head. And, reportedly, the Mennonites were sending service workers around the world long before it became fashionable to do so in other denominations. I'm not saying all of their methods were stellar, but they tried.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not impressed with the Mennonite church's stance on homosexuality. While insults and bodily harm are absolutely not tolerated, the official theology is homosexuality is a sin. I haven't believed homosexuality is a sin for some years, and it's been a source of disagreement with the movers-and-shakers in my church. But, each congregation will deal with that in different ways, so it could very well be that your local Mennonites in Indiana, kp, are quite gay-friendly.<br><br><br><br>
As far as demographics, Mennonite churches tend not to grow larger than 150-200. We're big into community, and that's best done with a relatively small group. After 200, most Mennonite churches will pare off and plant a second church somewhere else. If you like architecture, Mennonites are not for you. Generally, we build structures that are functional and practical, not designed to draw attention.
 
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