I first came to United Parish 3 years ago on Palm Sunday. I had heard of the Church from talking to someone at a party. At that point, I hadn’t attended church regularly in at least 10 years, and wasn’t particularly planning to start. But when I rode my bike by the week before Palm Sunday, I noticed the sign said the service was at 11. I thought, “I can do that…”
I loved everything—the music, the sermon, the time with children, the variety of faces, the warmth. I remembered why I liked church. I went to coffee hour, and the first person I met at Coffee hour had a similar Evangelical background to mine, and a similarly grateful attitude toward that background… alongside a more expanded point of view now. I knew I had found my place, my church.
A couple of weeks later, as I arrived at church for a book group I’d been invited to, a woman was sitting in her car listening to the ecumenical service on the radio, right after the marathon bombing. Thinking I was someone else, she invited me to join her in her car a listen with her for a few minutes. After a little while, she realized, I wasn’t the person she thought—another newbie to the church that she was looking out for—but she welcomed me, and we became fast friends just the same.
By the end of the summer, I was invited me to join the Stretching Team—sure, what is that?
And by the following January, I had joined the choir.
Eventually, I was invited to the Discernment Team – a team tasked and privileged with supporting people to participate in United Parish in a way that calls to them. I was a member of that team, which offered me the opportunity to make a lot of invitations.
You may be wondering – Why am I sharing all of this litany of invitations? Because, I realize the importance of and—I am grateful for–these invitations, whether I said yes or no. I had decided this was my church for sure, but my sense of connection to this community came from my participation. For some people, that is NOT what they want out of church—they want to show up come and go, Sundays or Christmas & Easter—and I totally get that and I applaud it—I have done that myself, for years at other churches. Recently, these invitations have been important to me and a great way to be part of this community.