I cannot remember a time when church, God, religion weren’t parts of my life. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of being in church–sitting on the pew kneeler playing as a preschooler, learning the words to the prayers we said every Sunday (Morning Prayer in those days), going to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, being an angel in the Christmas pageant, singing in the junior choir, church picnics on Rogation Sunday, playing with my best friend Christy (whose dad happened to be our priest, only we referred to him as our “minister” then) on the playground behind the parish hall. We asked a blessing before meals and said prayers before bed, and God was very real to me.
So I suppose it’s not surprising that when my children were born, I wanted that experience for them, too, and intentionally sought a church where they might feel as home as I had. Our parish in South Carolina was just such a place–warm, nurturing, welcoming. That parish played an enormously influential role in shaping my adult faith and it gave my children some of what I’d had and loved.
But things change, and we moved on and for lots of reasons we didn’t become part of another such place until my first three kids were almost grown. It was only in looking back that I realized how much of what I had wanted for them they had actually missed out on. And not only were our lives different than my family’s when I was growing up, but the culture changed, too. Church participation, a foundational faith in God– these things weren’t givens any more.
Now my daughters are mothers themselves. As a grandmother I want very much for my grandchildren to know about God, to experience the security and joy that comes from that, and as a priest it is my responsibility to help other parents provide that foundation for their children. It was in a conversation about this with my younger daughter that the idea for this blog was born–a space to do some “God talk,” to ponder what it means to be a believer in this here and now world, to consider what role church plays–and how to be church in a culture that doesn’t value church involvement the way the world of my childhood did, to work out how to share what I value so much.
I hope you’ll join the conversation.