There isn’t a church for me
I live in Small City Maine. In Small City there is the UU Church of Small City (UUCSC). An hour away there is the UU Church of Medium Town (UUCMT). 40 minutes away there is the UU Church of Other Medium Town (UUCOMT). And 45 minutes in a different direction there is UU Church of Bigger City (UUCBC). I was a member of UUCSC until recently. I have been to UUCMT and UUCBC and I have heard the minister from UUCOMT and I just don’t mesh with him. And I have heard from more than a few people that the congregation is all pretty old, and small, and similar to the church I just left. The minister of UUCOMT is actually the former part-time minister of the church I just left.
And those are my options for churches around here. I just don’t mesh with any of them. An hour, or even 40 minutes, is a long drive for something you don’t love. It’s a long drive in the winter, in often bad conditions, for something you are having a hard time being committed to.
There’s not a church around here for me.
The last three weeks I have gone to UUCBC. It was OK. The minister seemed a little off to me. The church wasn’t very welcoming. The order of service didn’t really lead you through the service very well. Not one person greeted me during coffee hour except a woman I already knew. It seemed like a somewhat closed off community. And aside from all of that there are church dymanics that I’ve heard about from more than one person that lead me to believe that it’s not a super place for me.
UUCMT is far. It’s an hour away. It’s not a drive I would want or be able to make every week. The church has a full time interim minister which apparently means that two Sundays a week she preaches and the other Sundays are lay led. I think I’ve had enough lay led services for quite awhile.
UUCOMT is not as far, but I just can’t see going there. Like I said, the congregation is old and small, I am not crazy about the minister’s style (he works, and works well, for a lot of people. Just not for me. I’m not saying anything negative about his ministry).
So what do I do? I know that there’s the CLF. I know that I can just… not go to church. I was really good at Not Going To Church for a long time. But now it feels weird. After just a year of church it feels weird to decide not to go.
The church I just left felt right when I first walked in. It felt like a place I wanted to be. And when I visited the UU Church in Cambridge, MA it felt welcoming. Some places just feel right. Some don’t. UU Phoenix felt like a place I would want to attend services (if it wasn’t, you know, 2,500 miles away). These places near(ish) I have visited just didn’t feel right. I wish I knew why.
If I had a few more friends I’d try to start some kind of songs and candlelight and readings service. But I don’t have those friends, I don’t have that community. I don’t have the ability to do that here. I don’t have the people, the space, the experience.
So I guess that’s it. I guess I just won’t go to church for now.