Friday, May 30, 2008

The new church

We'd been at Grace Church in SLO for like 10 years, ever since the beginning of our respective freshman years at college. We knew lots of people there, some who we'd known ever since we first started attending, and lots of friends we'd gotten to know since having kids together. We were involved, it was comfortable. It is really weird (and sad) to leave a church like that! In some ways we felt that we weren't necessarily a great fit there anymore, but it is an excellent church, and it was home, and there were so many amazing people there, and the teaching was solid.

I randomly found this church in Denver long before we even moved, called City Presbyterian. We had at some point been impacted by some of Tim Keller's teachings (and I always think of Troy when I think of Tim Keller!) about Christians doing God's work in the city, and were amazed by how much love this church was pouring into Denver. We went there last August and it was nice and small, the teaching was all about the Gospel, people were nice. Anyway this is where we've been going since we got here.

It's been such a huge paradigm shift for me personally (Kevin too, but he grew up in a Lutheran church, so less-so for him.) The way the service is run, the way church life goes, it's different from any church I'd ever been to. Not bad, just different! It is taking some getting used to (I've never attended a church where the pastor wears robes for example, where infants are baptized, or where communion is real wine and they have alcohol at church events--no Baptist influence here apparently!), but I find myself eagerly looking forward to our Sunday mornings there. I love their values and desire to love and help the broken.

One of the big changes is that they have family worship time. The children come with you to the service, are there through the singing and some of the liturgy (also something new for me), and then leave with their teachers to go Children's Church. They're there during the sermon, then come back right before (weekly) communion. Everyone goes forward for communion, then the pastor prays for your kids up front if you want them to.

It's taken our little crew a few weeks to get into this groove. But we LOVE it! I love that my kids are in the service with us, and see that we take communion and that they are prayed for. I love that last week they were in the service to see someone be baptized (also my first non-immersion baptism I've ever witnessed.) SO, while it has taken some work, stern talkings-to, and some giving out of consequences like not allowing the kids to have a fun snack during the snack-time (oh the horrors!), they were excellent last week, so things are improving.

I'm sure we'll try out another church or two (one of which is the church a friend goes to), and we're not for sure settled there or anything, but for now we are enjoying City Presbyterian. They meet downtown on a college campus, right across from Invesco Field and the Pepsi Center. (They're currently a PCA church, but about to switch denominations to the RCA or something.)

And it's less than 10 MINUTES from our more 35 minute drive to church. Now THAT is nice!


Mike and Rachel said...

I forgot it was a Presbyterian church! Mike and I were married in one, and we thought it was so beautiful, and after going to church in a Senior center for the last few years I really liked the idea of entering a real church on Sunday morning. Mike and I went once after we were married and the sermon matched the traditional building, and neither of us were ready for that. Needless to say we were back at the Senior Center the next Sunday and now attend church in a movie theater. I know you will "land" at the right church for your family, whether it is City Presbyterian or somewhere else.

I do love the idea of incorporating children into the service, I think that was really lost at some point and needs to to be immersed back into the church culture. I bet it started as a way to make more seating in the sanctuaries.

Brianna Heldt said...

Interesting point about making more seating! You are probably right about that. I am amazed at how capable kids are of sitting still and quiet in that type of setting, if you train them.

Yeah this church isn't overly traditional I don't think. Part of why it's leaving the PCA. :) It doesn't have its own building either, which we think is great! I think college campuses and movie theaters are great places to have church. :)

joy said...

i love the idea of having our kids in church with us, too. we were raised like that. we talk about bringing them in with us but the first service sunday school teacher is so great, that i think they get so much from her. next year, eli will definitely be joining us and i agree that kids can sit still, we just have to teach them and expect it of them. glad you found a church, at least for now. and i think campuses and movie theaters are good places to have church, too. it's not about the building, right?

Mike and Rachel said...

I know it isn't about a building, I just was longing for one after years without one. However, God wants us buildingless It's really funny actually, right before we left CA, Rock Harbor got a building. Then we left the church we started at here after they left the strip mall and moved into a new building. I hope our time at Plum Creek lasts beyond our theater days!

darci said...

i love family worship..i think it is more as it's supposed to be (although i have to say i love kid's church during the message, too..then i can HEAR!) :)
hope you find a church home you love. darci

Brianna Heldt said...

Joy, we never attempted keeping our kids w/ us at Grace for the whole is a long time, and I think it's hard to do when not everyone is doing it.

Rachel that's too funny about how you remain buildingless!

darci I agree, I do think it is the way to go. (And I also agree that is nice to hear the sermon!!! :) )

Carolina Mama said...

Welcome to Colorado! :) Isn't it awesome! My husband is from Boulder. You'll love it there and I do have the friends that are in process adoption from Ethiopia now! I emailed you about them. Best.

Kristen Borland said...

our church keeps the kids in the service for the first half hour, and then they go to sunday school. the jr. and sr. high kids stay the whole service. i love it. i grew up going to the whole main service and going to sunday school during a different service and definitely value that for my children.


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