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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Going to Church



(picture of Church of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen)

It's Sunday and I'm thinking of going to church.

I don't go to church. I've been estranged from church going since probably sometime in my sophomore year in college when my mother stopped going to church and church going was losing it's meaning to me. I was coming to the conclusion that I was a lesbian although I continued to "act straight" having a steady boyfriend for several more years. My mother, I believe was depressed, something that I have struggled with on and off. She became angry with the church-Catholic-I can't remember why. I stopped going because I was feeling that if indeed I was gay, well they didn't want me there anyway. I never felt any community there. I felt like a stranger in the pew. It was my hometown, but it was about 1969 or so, so lots of people were dropping off. I never felt any home at that church. Women could only play one part and that was cleaning the church and altar area. (I always wanted to be an altar boy!)

But now, I'm feeling a deep yearning to find a spiritual community.My partner attends a gay synagogue and I tried that but I was not really a part of the place because I didn't want to convert-the Jesus thing, you know?

I've been reading books and attending the The Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Lesbian Group (:-@) The Lesbian and Gay Groups are out and in public and announced in the weekly bulletin. I'm hesitant to get too comfortable in the Catholic church, because I remember 20 years ago, by decree of the archbishop, the gay Catholic Dignity, who had their masses there, were ordered out. We had a candlelight march from there to the GLBT Community Center and everyone was very angry and sad-I was there. I'm afraid that could happen again with the new regime of the Catholic Church.

In my neighborhood, Is a nice Episcopal Church. I've been reading Take this Bread by Sara Miles. And MomPriest has said that she thinks this denomination might be a good fit.

What should I do?

14 comments:

Barbara B. said...

I'm probably not the best one to ask since I'm presently dechurched.... My undergrad college was Catholic and I learned there that they do 'exclusion' very well! :) I think mompriest is right. If it is the 'right' Episcopal church it could be a great fit! I think it's really good you continue to be open/searching/on the journey.

Counselor in Process said...

Thanks, Barb. As it turned out, I did go to the Episcopal Church. I was not like the church in "Take this bread." It was very 'high church" with incense for days! But it seems very gay. Also the refreshments after the service were very nice-great brownies. The best part was that I was able to catch up with an old friend who has gotten quite involved there. Not sure that this particular Episcopal church is a good fit, but I'll keep looking. Thanks for your support.

Barbara B. said...

I'm going to have to read "Take this Bread"... The "high church" thing has prevented me from trying out our local Episcopal church -- that just doesn't seem like me! (Although maybe I am looking for excuses!) That is cool about catching up with an old friend, and you can't go wrong with good brownies!! :)

ProstateCancer said...

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more cows than people said...

keep visiting. keep searching. i may send a friend your way who can help on your search.

Counselor in Process said...

Thanks, More Cows!

LittleMary said...

hi there! more cows sent me to you, glad to read your blog. am curious which episcopal church you went to, though i can guess:) glad to have your blog on my roll!

mompriest said...

well...maybe I shouldn't weigh in again...but let me at least say that every Epsicopal Church is different from another. We really are. The church in SF that Sara attends is profoundly creative in liturgy but still has some issues around hospitality. Another church might not have such creaive liturgy but might do hospitality better...and another church might not do either well...and well...you get the picture...it's all about going a few times...and seeing if you feel like it fits you...regardless of whether it is Episcopal or what...but well, I think God is calling...

Counselor in Process said...

Hi MomPriest. Feel free to weigh in whenever you want. My friend Paula goes to this church-seen in the picture, and with their geograpic proximity and hx of doing good work with their soup kitchen, well, why not. But their 'mass' was very much like the mass of my youth with hymns that even I knew the words for, "Holy God we praise thy name..." As I may have mentioned, what one of the servers mentioned "swinging the smoking purse" for days!"

Rev Dr Mom said...

Not many churches are like St. Gregory of Nyssa. But there are lots of wonderful Episcopal churches out there (Truth in advertising--I'm an Episcopal priest). And if you live in NYC you have lots of choice.

I went to seminary in NYC and did my field placement there...if you have any questions about any parishes there I'd be happy to tell you what I know. revdrmom(at)gmail (dot)com

Mary Beth said...

Agree with what MomPriest says...some of what Sara describes in her church I can't imagine in any Episcopal church I've ever been to anywhere (though I'd like to try) so keep on visiting!

Excited that you are on the road.

Choralgirl said...

Hi! I'm a lesbian, too--spent 10 years as a Catholic, most of the rest of my life as an ELCA Lutheran. Fewer sacraments (which I sort of miss), more interesting preaching (which I love), tends to have congregations that sing better (it's more in the tradition), (a bit less hierarchical) LOTS of similarities otherwise. Switching between 'em was pretty fluid for me. A liberal ELCA congregation might be something to try!

Holy cats--just looked at the ELCA website for a NY,NY congregation and Advent Lutheran has Barbara Lundblad as a pastor. She's family, she's an amazing preacher. I'd try there in a heartbeat!

Choralgirl said...

You can browse ELCA congregations in NYC here: http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx

:-) Looks like there might be lots of good options. Good luck!

Choralgirl said...

You can browse ELCA congregations in NYC here: http://www.elca.org/ELCA/Search/Find-a-Congregation.aspx

:-) Looks like there might be lots of good options. Good luck!