Today we went to a country church…it is literally seen as the country church. Three Hills is pretty populated with churches considering its size, most of them in-town. This one is only a few miles away- however closer than we drove to church in Wheaton. But from the outskirts of town to the church, there was only one house in between…no stoplights. I wish you could see how nothing surrounds this church, but snow.
There was something sweet and nostalgic for me to go to a church that hasn’t been touched by the mega-church movement and all that comes with it. It had a sanctuary, not an auditorium. No band or even instruments besides an organ. They sang hymns and when the man leading the singing got something in his throat and stopped singing for a verse…the congregation just continued. The person playing the organ got up to make the announcements. Everyone came up and greeted me since I was new. There was a small room at the back of the sanctuary that served as a nursery. I waited there with Ethan for someone to come…until someone told me that they don’t usually put someone in the nursery…it’s there for the moms to take their kids out of the service when they weren’t able to be in the service anymore. But before I could think it through, one woman, who must have seen me standing there with three small kids by myself and taken pity, came right up and said she would do nursery and took Ethan in. So, all the kids, even the very young were altogether in the service. Whole families. No one seemed impatient with wiggly kids or occasional small voices. The woman next to Sela had a whole conversation with her about her red shoes before the service and then reached into her purse and gave her a pen and paper when she got squirrely. Sela loved the singing. Samara sat next to me and paged through her Bible. It was sweet having them in the service with me until they were dismissed for children’s church. There was no security, no beepers, numbers or sign-ins. Samara and Sela were in the same class together. (Our Wheaton Church has a phenomenal kids program and being so big, each child was put in a class where the kids were born within two months of them. So Samara was in a class for kids born Jan.-Mar. ’06). Afterwards they just came and found me (Samara said this was her favorite part- just being dismissed and coming and finding me). Today was ‘Soup Sunday’. Immediately after the service, everyone took down the chairs in the room where we met and set up tables and lunch…together. We didn’t stay for the meal, but I wanted to. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The body of Christ at this church were open, embracing, unpretentious and kind. I was thankful to worship with them today.