Can anyone suggest a good *happy* church? Either domination or in our area - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-13-2003, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I hope its okay to post this here... Me and my Dh are lapsed christians. For me, personally its because all of the churches I attended while I was a child made me feel horrible. They only preached of a fire and brimstone God, and never touched on any happy/loving aspect of God. All this experience has freaked me out and I really really want to get in touch with God in a loving, fatherly way just like so many of you all have.

Can anyone suggest a demonination? A specific church in my area? I would really appreciate it if anyone could help. I know I could just try them out, go church hunting, but I'm just frozen by this fear and worry.

I'm considering going to a UU church, I've heard wonderful things about them, but I'd like more options...

Thanks so much for any help

Editted to add: I also want a place that is good with children, as I have one on the way

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 01-13-2003, 11:55 PM
 
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The church I am currently attending is a combined congregation Disciples of Christ and Presbyterians. I think it is the Disciples of Christ that are the more liberal of the two but I may be wrong. I actually found this church because a friend of mine suggested I look at DoC, so you might want to start there. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-14-2003, 01:09 AM
 
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I've got a couple of suggestions for ya, we just moved to a new area and I've been *soul searching* and *community searching* ~ I was looking for the UU meeting and stumbled into a Unity Christian Church (close names, in the same building : ) I really enjoyed the service, it combined a biblical lesson with eastern philosophies intertwined. Sounds strange, but it was a beautiful service, ending with a big circle and we all sang *Let There Be Peace On Earth*
For the past two weeks, we've been going to the UU services. The kids *LOVE* it! I've really enjoyed it, too and I've learned a lot. The people (at both services) were very open and friendly, excited to see the community grow. There are more kids at the UU church (total:6) so that's where we'll stay for now, but I'm seriously thinking of alternating services (too bad they're at the same time).
Good luck in finding your spritual home!
~diana ild

~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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Old 01-14-2003, 01:51 AM
 
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I was raised in the Church of Religious Science, not to be confused with Christian Scientists or Scientology, both of which are very different.

This is their website http://www.religiousscience.org/ .

They are more spiritual then Christian, but they usually base the lessons on the bible, and above all, they are always positively focused.

This is today's affirmation http://www.scienceofmind.com/site/af...ons/aff13.html
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Old 01-14-2003, 03:05 AM
 
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As for a demonination, we go to an Open Bible church, and it has a great service! There is great music, a good message, and just a lot of young families. We are a looooong way from you, but hopefully there will be Open Bibles near you to check out. Good luck!
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Old 01-14-2003, 07:33 AM
 
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Open Bible is great...

DH and I really like Vinyard (sp? it's late forgive me) The structure of that denomination is pretty relaxed, it is kinda a blue jeans and t-shirts place KWIM? I will warn you though that it is charismatic (you know, dancing and speaking in tounges) all of the churches are different...but that is pretty standard in charismatic curcles....

I will ask DH if he knows of any good churches in your area, he is good with that sort of thing.

HTH
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Old 01-14-2003, 02:11 PM
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We go to a Vineyard.

It's supportive but there are Christians of different backgrounds there (nice because everyone's accepted) but, in our church, there are Ezzoites but the Pastor doesn't want any part of such stuff.

Generally a nice mixture of people.

Debra Baker
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Old 01-14-2003, 03:27 PM
 
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I really like my church a lot:

http://www.soulhorizon.com

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 01-14-2003, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone! I've started looking into the different churches you've all suggested to see what may be right for us. I *really* appreciate everyone taking the time to suggest different churches. I feel much more confident about hunting around for a church now that I can narrow it down to ones that might fit what we're looking for. I think growing up in Southern Baptist churches just was not for me! :LOL Hopefully we can find a good fit for us!

Oh yes and if anyone else has more suggestions please feel free to still add to the list! The more options the better!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 01-14-2003, 07:00 PM
 
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Vineyard churches, open bible and foursquare are all good if you like more contemporary music and casual services. However, your own doctrinal beliefs are important too. All three of those churches are VERY conservative: inerrancy of the bible, literal translation of the bible, believers baptism, homosexuality is a sin, man is head of the family. If these are your beliefs, great. These are good churches for you then. But, uf they are not, you sshould not attend jsut bc the service is to your liking.
We have been to a lot of different denoms and have spent too long studying the different aspects of them and also trying to find one that is friendly to our kids. WHat we have finally come back to is the Episcopal church. More liberal, very holy and traidtional beautiful service, they love kids. The denomination as a whole is struggling with the homosexuality issue and some bishops are going forward to ordain the homosexual and bless unions. The do ordain females and divroced people./ There is just a lot of grace within the denomination.
Presbyterain USA(sorry I cant stop to correct spelling, I have a crying baby) and United Methodist are both more liberal and they often do include a contemporary service.
h
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Old 01-14-2003, 07:22 PM
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Boysrus,

I have kept my opinion to myself on a couple of issues. I'm not quite sure where they stand but let sleeping dogs lie so to speak.

Not the best but considering the alternatives....

db
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Old 01-14-2003, 08:44 PM
 
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I think maybe you (and me as I am really searching righ now too) need to think about why you want to go to church and what you believe.

I think the main objective of any church is to be fed...and grow spiritually, so while it isn't a good idea to just go to any ol' church willy-nilly I personally don't see a problem going to a church b/c you like the services. Why oh why would you go to a church that you didn't like the services?

I think it is perfectly acceptable to attend a church for awhile if it makes you feel good, especially since you have been burned more than once, and once you feel better about churches...start seeking out churches that are more *exact* in what you believe.

I would venture to say that none of us goes to a church that believes exactly what we believe all the time....you take in the good and throw out the bad.
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think maybe you (and me as I am really searching righ now too) need to think about why you want to go to church and what you believe.
Yup I *totally* agree. My #1 concern is to first free myself from these negitive feelings that have frozen me from making any sort of religious choices for the past 7 years. Hence wanting the friendly, happy church that is focused on the positive, not the negative. Its the first step so I can really find a place that fits our needs.

Armed with sources of churches who fit that requirement, I can hunt on the web for at least a run down of their beliefs, and hopefully find a website for the churches in my area. Then I can see if they seem to ring true to me, might be a good fit, ect.

I do want a more liberal church to attend, and being able to think for myself is a big deal too (If I disagree with what a verse means in the bible, I want people to be willing to discuss it with me. Not just a polite "shut up, this is right you're wrong, God will smote you if you keep questioning me" kind of response). I want a place that can teach my future children about God and Jesus in a loving manner (I don't want them scared every sunday and petrified if they aren't perfect God won't love them anymore...).

I want to go to church so I can have a positive relationship with God. So I can learn to feel the love He has for me as well as get past my fear. So I can feel like I'm not a hypocritical Christian who hasn't walked into a church in seven years. So I can have help teaching my future children. So I can really figure out more details of the bible and really figure out exactly what I do believe! I'm a very open, liberal thinker, I love pagan religions, I know some of my dh and my lifestyle choices would be considered sinful by conservative churches (but they make sence for us). I want to find a home where its ok to be different. To not have to be mindless sheep following along blindly.

Sorry this is SO longwinded! But I figured if I could get sources of happy, loving churches I could do more research and find a place (I hope) that fits what I need (or closely matches it)... I really appreciate all the help so far!! Now if I could just find a church that does things at night instead of in the morning I'd be set! :LOL

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:13 PM
 
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you'd be surprised how many churches actually do have a sat. night service...
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:21 PM
 
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I would venture to say that none of us goes to a church that believes exactly what we believe all the time....you take in the good and throw out the bad. [/B][/QUOTE]

I just wanted to throw in a little aside, to say that some people actually are members of a Church that we believe everything they believe all the time... including myself.
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:49 PM
 
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Try this link to get an idea what faiths might serve you well.
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/76/story_7665_1.html

editing to add: This link may not actually be very helpful to you. It doesn't really break out one Christian denomination from another much. I could have sworn I took a quiz once that did that. But this ain't it.
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Old 01-15-2003, 01:59 AM
 
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I have been pretty happy with many Mennonite churches. (This is not the same thing as Amish) The churches vary quite a bit from church to church because of the way the churches are structured....although there is a conference, it is from the churches up instead of a governing body down to the churches. Although there are more conservative churches, the one I went to in Kansas City had many openly gay couples in it and was very liberal.

The general views that all Mennonite churches have are: pacifism (although some of the more liberal churches are accepting of / supportive of military service), believer's baptism (but you don't have to be a baptised member to participate in the church), and an attitude of service as opposed to a bunch of lip service. I can't really even remember any "fire and brimestone" type sermons...tend to focus a lot more on "love your neighbor" type stuff. Mennonites can often be described as "hippies" before the term hippy existed. They tend to be more aware of other cultures, environmentalist, "stewardship of the land", non-materalistic. Nonviolent conflict resolution is a big deal and mission work is usually to go help people rather than go preach at people.

My church in Kansas City (a fairly small congregation) supported a park, a recycling center, a food bank and soup kitchen, and a bunch of other community support services for the area (very low income area). Also a lot of "habitat for humanity" stuff. Often the LLL meetings will be held in Mennonite churches and the church often has more people with AP parenting styles than mainstream.

There are a few "stick up the butt" conservative churches too, the ones that are trying to oppose recognition of gay marriages, so if you run into one of those churches, just move on, there are much better ones out there.

The following is a link to the local conference ( a links page for further information)
Not a big information site, but has addresses and stuff so you could contact local churches and find out what their church culture is like.http://www.pacificsouthwest.org/

edited to add link

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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Old 01-15-2003, 06:05 AM
 
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this may or may not help you in your area but i have found a wonderful niche at my college campus ministry. I am actually in baltimore and my church is the towson university newman center but i have heard that there are other Cardinal John Henry Newman centers around the country. it might be worth the effort to check. my center is very open minded and accepting(gays, non- christians, etc.)
good luck!
-wolfmom

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Old 01-15-2003, 08:29 AM
 
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This is going to be short, but my suggestion would be to look for a non-denomenational church that emphasizes small-group meetings during the week. This is a great way to get to know other people, develop deep relationships, and really dig into scripture, feeling comfortable with asking questions and all. And my FIL always says that a church that has Awanas is good marker for a church that is solid in the Word and has a heart for children.

I hope that you find a church where you feel free to worship God, be fed His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

Another good way to ease back into a church environment would be to join Bible Study Fellowship. It's non-denomenational and a way for all types of people (unbelievers, "baby" Christians, to Bible scholars) to study the Word in a meaningful way. Then you could talk to the ladies in your group about which churches they attend and get a better feel for things. It's just an idea. The website is www.bsfinternational.org
And BTW, many churches are beginning to offer services at times other than Sun. am, like Fri and Sat night! Very convenient and relaxed, usually.

OK, so this wasn't short!

Blessings!
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Old 01-15-2003, 01:39 PM
 
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We attend a United Methodist congregation that's been wonderful. The church is very low on dogma, and you are encouraged to think for yourself. We have bible study groups and everyone's viewpoint is respected, not just the minister's.

Our church is quite liberal. Women are ordained and participate fully in the governance of the church. The services are positive and upbeat. It is very child oriented. There is some variation from congregation to congregation, so you might want to visit a few different churches.
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Old 01-15-2003, 05:33 PM
 
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EmmaJean, please educate me. What is/are Awanas?
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Old 01-15-2003, 06:08 PM
 
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I am United Methodist and my husband was raised Unitarian. He has joined my church now after carefully thinking it over and studying the doctrine for 3 years. Methodist are very open to discussing the Bible, recognizing God's grace and welcoming everyone into the congregation. At this time gay men and women are not allowed to be ordained elders, they are welcomed to worship as a part of the congregation or non leadership roles. Our main organist is gay with a permanent life partner. WOmen are ordained and encouraged to take part in every facet of the church. The thing that I try to remember with any church I attend is that although churches are dedicated to God and worshipping God, they are run and comprised of people. People are not infallible "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." THis helps me when I get frustrated with my church. I hope you find peace.

Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were a minute old, I would have died for you. That is the miracle of life. ~Maureen Hawkins~
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Old 01-15-2003, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is/are Awanas?
I attended Awanas for a few nights when I was young. I know its a children's ministry type thing. With lessons and fun activities. I also think (but I may be wrong) that they work kinda like the boy/girl scouts with vests and earning badges? Not sure on that one... but I do know its a kids thing.

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 01-18-2003, 12:57 AM
 
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Are there still Calvary Chapels out in California? We went to these before. It was a good experience.

see www.calvarychapel.org

 
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Old 01-18-2003, 01:37 AM
 
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Well, I don't know much *personally*, since I only went once with a friend. Here's a link to their website:

www.awana.org

Basically, it is a program to make scripture memory fun for kids. There is a time for games and total chaos and there is a section of time for working on your notebooks, learning scripture, and reciting it to the leaders. That's kind of the serious time. You're supposed to work on your notebook stuff during the week and bring it to Awana. But it is kind of like Boy/Girl Scouts in that you have uniforms, separate age groups, and earn badges and things for different activies. And the activities and all are geared to be developmentally appropriate. Anyway, it's LOTS of fun for most kids and the adults involved (my dad's a leader!). The website is lots more helpful in telling what it's about! My FIL believes it is a good marker for a great church b/c it shows the church cares about kids, reaching out the community, evangelism, and being solid in Scripture!

HTH!
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Old 01-18-2003, 02:04 PM
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Calvery chapels are great for adults and older children but I found them to be hostile against children, particularly children in the services.

Makes me sad because I would have seriously considered them when I was searching for a church but I had little ones at that time, little ones who wanted to be with mom and dad.

They were *good* and *quiet* but the people there had strict no child policies.

Sort of "back of the bus" for kiddos.

Just makes me sad.

DB
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:59 AM
 
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Lisa_Lynn,

In reading about what you're looking for in a church, I wanted to again encourage you to check out The Vineyard. I attend (and am very active in) the Vineyard Church here. Vineyards are part of the Association of Vineyard Churches, and are non-denominational. Things that others have encouraged you to find, like small groups, are an essential part of the Vineyard.

I can't speak for all Vineyard churches, because they'll obviously all be somewhat different, but you can count on sound biblical teachings, casual, welcoming atmosphere, etc. The National Director of the Vineyard is actually my pastor here in Sugar Land. Our church has wonderful children's programs, is very welcoming of anyone and everyone, regardless of where you are personally and spiritually, and has regular "baby booms," which makes us all quite open to kids!

Here's a link to the Vineyard USA website, where you can look for churches in your area. There are often several in major metro areas (I've lost count of how many there are in the Houston area now). http://www.vineyardusa.org/churches/churches_index.htm

I hope this helps! Let us know what you find in your search!

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Old 02-01-2003, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much everyone! As an update, I've found websites for several of the churches in our area, and *I'm* ready to start attending the ones I like in text to see how I like them in person. Dh is still dragging his feet, wants to read the websites, ect... and its being a bit difficult to get him to do that.. He's really nervous about going back to church (well I am too, but if I don't kinda nudge him we'll never return)... but does talk about going to his family's church... its just a standard baptist church, and I'd be willing to attend a few services, but don't want to be locked in to keep attending (and trust me, my MIL WOULD guilt me if I went, and then stopped, even if I went to another church)...

So I shall keep gently working on Dh to help make a desicion of which churchs he likes, so we can get moving!

I'll update everyone when there is more to speak about.

Again, I *DO* SOOOOOOOOO appreciate all the avenues to look down, and all the options you've presented to me. Thank you SO much!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:08 PM
 
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Just wanted to second the suggestion to try a Mennonite church. They tend to be family-friendly and my guess is that the ones in CA would tend to be more liberal. I value the commitment to peace and social issues that they have as well as an emphasis on pursuing spirituality in one's daily life.
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Old 02-02-2003, 11:54 PM
 
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Wow LisaLynn~ looks like you are getting a lot of good suggestions here - the Mennonites, Quakers, The Newman Centers (the one at UC Berkeley has great services), not sure if anyone mentioned the Unitarians, also the Methodists (especially the "welcoming communities" which are especially welcoming to gays and lesbians.

I do want to suggest a service to you ~ perhaps not to be your "regular" church but for a rather unusual, yet fascinating and wonderful on-the- cutting-edge Episcopal liturgy (I went there several times when I was writing a paper on liturgy styles). It is on Portrero Hill in San Francisco and it is called St. Gregory's of Nyssa. Since your dh likes websites here is theirs:

http://www.saintgregorys.org/

Try it, there is nothing quite like it! In fact, it is kind of a "test case" for liturgy and you will usually find ministers from all over the country there checking it out.

Good Luck!

~Deirdre
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