Moving is nothing new to our family. For many years it was something we did every 3-4 years as our head-of-household served in the U.S. Air Force which means PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) often. With each move came the search of a place to worship. Now, it is not my intention to bring religion into this blog. However, it would be impossible to share openly and honestly with readers if I were to purposely refrain from mentions of faith, religion or spiritual living. Specifically, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Please stay with me, reader. I promise there will be no judgement here. In fact, should a reader of non-God persuasion stick with any and all posts I will consider myself lucky to have your attention.
Our move to the country in 2012 put us smack dab between two tiny towns of Aubrey and Pilot Point, Texas. Our address states the latter though we are not in city limits which means we will eventually venture into the crazy-country-way of setting off fire works! (I’ll keep ya posted on THAT)
Shortly after arriving we visited a few of MANY Christian Churches. I grew up Methodist and my husband was raised Catholic and over the years we usually worshiped in the Protestant service of our Air Force base chapels. This involved various worship services under the same Church roof…at different times, of course. The base Chapel alter remained the same, only the setting was changed accordingly. Evangelical service: Up went the overhead projector, in came guitars and drums and Chaplin, Traditional Protestant service: acolytes walked in to light candles, traditional hymns sung, communion served by Chaplin once a month, and Catholic service: Alter prepared by Priest for Mass, Traditions and Church calender events kept in tact.
We managed to have all three of our children baptized at our home church in Crowley whenever we were visiting family in Texas, but we eventually moved our membership from Methodist to Disciples of Christ once we settled back home in Fort Worth. Once we made our move from the city I was happy to find a Disciples of Christ Church nearby. There was just one problem.
When I called the phone number listed for the church I discovered it was disconnected. I attempted to attend the 11:00 worship service (as advertised in the local paper and church sign) a couple of times, only to discover no one else showing up! What started off as a simple effort to visit for worship on Sunday morning turned into a quest. I was so impressed with this little white building, with its very tall steeple set smack dab on a corner street near a traditional Texas town square, that I was determined to get in there. Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, where on earth are all the people?
Then, it happened. My husband and I finally managed to make a Sunday service where we discovered that: an average of 13 people attended worship, two visiting pastors from Dallas rotated Sundays to conduct worship, when the piano player is available we sing two verses instead of just one, this church was build in 1904, and this church is an absolute treasure that was in need of some serious dusting and cleaning.
The members of this church were incredibly kind and welcomed us from day one. They explained that they do what they need to keep the doors open but with a shrinking membership many chores have simply been neglected. We completely understood.
We visited for many months, were encouraged by the messages and enjoyed the company of our new friends. I started to slip in this regular whisper to my husband, “I wonder if they would let me come in and clean this place up”. He (always being more forthcoming than me) simply said, “ask them”. After a year of visiting Juaquin and I moved our membership to Central Christian Church. Two weeks later I gathered up the courage to ask one of the members if it would be alright if I cleaned the place up a bit. I was given a thumbs-up along with a key to the church and I got on with the task at hand.
I have wanted to share my little experience since I completed the ‘big clean’ in April, just in time for Easter. This summer has been up and down, but here are some pictures of this project. I hope you enjoy peeking in as much as I enjoyed tidying up!
Once I viewed the pictures the STOP jumped out as a double-reminder. The first? STOP and take time to consider God. The second? Growing numbers of people in our communities have simply STOP going to church. The churches we see as we venture in our cities and towns are precious reminders of a loving God that sustained those before us, those among us and those to follow.
These are not all the pictures I took just the ones I really wanted to share. This last is a picture of pictures! It is a set of three images of Mary, baby Jesus and Joseph. The center picture really stood out as extra precious.It was only after I uploaded my pictures to the computer that I noticed the STOP sign in the above photo (I was so focused on Liberty and Church that I did not even notice the STOP). Freedom to worship (or not) is a precious part of our individual liberty guaranteed to the citizens of the United States of America which made these intersecting streets special. Mary has full attention on baby (who is looking pretty relaxed with his hand behind his head) and then there’s Joseph. Aware of possible danger and threat, Joseph is clearly tuned in to being the protector of Mary and baby. I just adore this image of love, concern and protection all rolled into these three people. It is inspiring and comforting! At least that is what I take from it. I hope you do too.
Thanks for sticking with this entire entry and I hope you might consider popping in for a visit at a neighboring church. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!
PS: Thanks, Rita for encouraging me to go ahead with this post! =)