Wednesday, August 11, 2010
church-- a comfortable place
We have been trying to find a church that ALL of us feel comfortable in for quite a few years. We had been going to one for awhile until it got too big. For us, we wanted a church we could all feel very comfortable in and one in which the pastor would not put down other religions. I always hated going to a service where someone would do that as we feel everyone has the right to worship the way they want to. Anyhow, it also has to deal with people welcoming our kids as well. Some FAS children will obviously not sit still during a sermon or rock back & forth. So, we were on the lookout for different places to try. For the past few years, we have been going to Upwards at a church in Raleigh. Though it's only about 15 minutes from our house. Our kids have also attended VBS there. Last weekend was the last of the VBS and we decided to go that Sunday. Here are a few shots from it & I'll talk more below about the rest of what happened.
Alyona & Nik. I have no idea why Alyona was upset in this picture. She loves wearing dresses though & insisted she wear one this time too. Though a little upset the flower fell off of it, she handled it well. 100 degrees outside and my kids have a blanket on. Go figure.
Some of the kids from VBS performed some songs. Nik, Alex, Alyona & Bojan were on stage for this. I was surprised Alex was so into it. Usually, he is not. Bojan of course could do a solo act if you let him. LOL.
Max is up on stage reading scripture. BIG for him. It is hard for him to speak in front of a crowd. Very proud of him for taking that step.Notice the lady there to help him if he needs it? She's the one who does a lot of the youth activities. Amazing lady to put it all together.
Back to the church. As I said before, we've tried out a few churches and even some activities for the kids at the different churches. AWANAS was a great program at one of the churches but since my kids have memory issues, they could never memorize the versus and therefore, felt bad about not getting to get the award of moving to the next level. Now, take the church we have been taking them to for VBS and Upwards. They have friends there and other kids are not afraid to talk to them. When people meet us, they genuinely ask questions and don't make unnecessary comments. They make us feel welcome. And, they ask about the kids...not about their special needs. I was asked what school they go to, how old, etc. Never about what special need does each one have or anything. Topic came up but it was never outright asked. They asked normal, kid questions. In fact, in a small group during VBS we spoke w/ fellow church members and all of us were talking about the crazy things that kids do. It was awesome. Normal conversations and we were included. That is the one thing I always felt at this church...included and welcomed. The kids have asked when they can go again.
See during the VBS week, we were able to get to know more people at the church. Just was a nice family atmosphere. Then, on Sunday, we were able to really speak to people more after the service. It was so wonderful. The sermon itself was on faith which has a lot of meaning to us for obvious reasons. I've always said adoption is a leap of faith. The pastor spoke of how it is easy to have faith when things are going right but how about when times get tough? Lots to think about and just a pastor who puts things in perspective. We like that. In all our times going there, we were never pushed into attending church there or hounded by calls. We were able to go at our own pace and I truly appreciate that. So, we sat down for a nice lunch to chit chat some more w/ folks while the pastor had to own up to a bet w/ the kids of VBS. He took a pie in the face for them. Here are some pictures from the lunch.
I was SO embarrassed by Bojan. This is his pile of dessert AFTER part was scrapped off onto someone else's plate. He claimed that he couldn't cut it right. Umm, yeh, right kid.
Don't know why I have so many Bojan eating shots. Lunch was burgers/ hot dogs, chips, pasta salad and dessert. My kids ate plenty and apparently entertained folks as well. All have made friends every time we go here and I like that about church. We always felt a church should be more like a family. This church helped to put our kitchen together when we were beyond swamped w/ stuff to do. It was amazing that they did that back then for people that just attended their Upwards program. For us, that is what it is about. Christians helping Christians in time of need. They do this all the time. Not just us but other people as well. They do missions trips. Active in the community and reach out. I like the warmth, kindness, and generosity of the people at Ebenezer UMC and know now, we have finally found a place where we feel comfortable as a family attending church there. Can not wait to go back on Sunday and neither can the kids. Now, with our bunch, I can not guarantee we can make it every Sunday. But, we will definitely give it our all. Thanks for being so welcoming. Means a lot. The teens have even asked about the youth program so we are going to check that out too. Had to share b/c I know for a fact other families w/ kids w/ FAS and RAD also have issues attending church. I do believe everyone has a place that they fit in to a church family. Like us, sometimes it just takes awhile to find the right fit. A church that is patient with us is important to us. Thanks for letting me share.