On 7 October 2007 I went for the first time to a little Anglican church just down the road from me. That means I have been there a whole year now and I still can’t believe that I have found somewhere to call home. My months of wandering around meant that I was becoming disallusioned and desperately needing somewhere that I could feel at home. The church has given me the space to be me, I have hooked up with a cell group that is good fun and that has made a huge difference to my sense of belonging.
The church is at the centre of a village community and it’s focus on community has been one of the most important things to me. It has events for the community, prays for the people of the parish and expects to be central to the life of the village. It is a vibrant place, filled with hope and they have just started a big redevelopment of the building to make it more user friendly. For the first time in years I want to be at church and I miss it when I am not there.
I needed somewhere that I could be authentic, and whilst I am quite sure that many of the people at the church don’t approve of everything I do or say, I am still convinced that they approve of who I am. Last night I went to cell group and the new curate came to join us. We were talking about various things and she gave me a real affirmation of who I am called to be and she encouraged me to be authentic about my faith. A sense of belonging has given me back the confidence to be who I am, without shame and without excuse. You can’t buy that with a Mastercard!