I started blogging to help me try to understand the rhythms of church life as my husband began training to be an Anglican vicar, after 26 years of marriage to me. Being apart for the best part of the week because of the location of his first curacy, meant that I was only a part-time curate's wife, as I continued to work away and so struggled to come to terms with the life change. Blogging as 'The (Reluctant) Curate's wife' was very therapeutic! Since starting 'The Other Half of being the curate's wife 'blog I have avoided writing about actually being a curate's wife. There have been moments when this has lapsed but mostly I have been trying to look on the positive side to this life change. I love living near the moor. But I wonder how honest I am really being.
Our move from a well established, but more elderly, church on the north coast, to a church that seems to me to have a bit of an identity crisis, has proved challenging. It makes it very difficult to know how to fit in. I have to laugh about it because last January I was trying to work out what sort of church I felt comfortable with. I read up on different traditions, I blogged about my early church experiences and how they might have influenced me and now I am in a church where I have plenty of choice. There are three Sunday services and each seems to have its own congregation and then there is the Thursday morning congregation. If that doesn't suit, there is a small rural church, a few miles away, that continues with its one service, as it always has done for many,many years . Further away, there is also an ornate, higher Anglican church where I can be sprinkled with Holy water and have delightful conversation with regular attendees.
With so much choice, I am beginning to realise (to my surprise) that I am a bit of a 'middle of the road Anglican'. I have enjoyed the early morning Book of Common Prayer services I have attended. I have enjoyed the sung evensong service and some of the worship style services with their more informal feel. I like a bit of everything! And I would like to meet everyone! It seems to me that a well lead church should be looking for opportunities to draw the congregations together so that they feel like one church. This would then make it easier to invite people to their 'parish church' but at the moment - I don't really know what this church is.
There was a different (good) feel at Christmas, when more of our neighbours attended the Christmas services but mostly, around where we live, people don't go to the parish church. I don't go to our parish church...much. I'm not there today. I have struggled with some of the teaching. I am not as comfortable with worship songs when they are unknown by the congregation. I do like the music to draw the congregation into the service. Yet I am familiar with and like modern worship songs but so many visitors are not, so they have to be used with care. It is very easy for things to become so familiar to the 'in' crowd that they forget how unfamiliar and exclusive a church can sometimes feel to visitors. I am not a visitor but I am not settled and I am not sure what to do.