No church for me

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.

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3 Comments to “No church for me”

  1. Only just stumbled upon the blog a half hour ago, but I love what I’ve read so far.
    I was raised Quaker, and used to go to a Quaker camp in Maine when I was younger, and I know there’s a bit of crossover between the UU and Quaker communities.
    The services are definitely very different, but if you’re looking for a faith community, Quakers tend to be very welcoming (although, granted, I obviously can’t speak for all of us).
    There’s a whole list of Quaker Meetings in Maine here: http://www.quakerfinder.org/quaker/ME

  2. I feel myself in a similar situation. It’s hard to find a decent church around here, and I don’t have the gas money or energy to travel far for something that just might be a little better. I also lack much of a community to start my own group. For now I just listen to podcasts from Revolution Church(http://www.revolutionnyc.com/ if you’re interested). It’s sad how difficult it is to find a good church though.

  3. Hey, Andy! I attended a UU congregation for a year myself, so I understand where you are coming from. When we moved to a new place, it just wasn’t the same. We are okay with no longer attending a church, but I agree that it is really important to have a sense of community and a feeling of acceptance. Maybe there is a way to have “services” at a local college or at least form some sort of group that you can build a community with. When my kids were younger, my closest friend and I wanted to start a homeschooler/unschooler group, but we were living in a heavy Christian/Mormon area, and although we support all people’s right to follow their spiritual path, we were looking for people who shared more of our philosophies. We worked on a very carefully worded flier and posted it at our local post office and community stores. Our first day had a great turn-out! It seemed there were lots of people who felt the way that we did, but had no group to turn to. I guess my point is, maybe there are others in your small town who also haven’t found a spiritual home and is just waiting for the right person to come along and help build that home.
    I wish you love and luck.

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