Above is a picture of my church. It's Bradford Community Church. It's great.
I have been going to Bradford for about a year and a half. What happened on the way there is the subject of my blog for this week...
Let's start with a joke...
There was a man who was stranded on a desert island for many, many years. One day, while strolling along the beach, he spotted a ship in the distance. This had never happened in all the time he was on the island, so he was very excited about the chance of being rescued.
Immediately, he built a fire on the beach and generated as much smoke as possible. It worked! Soon, the ship was heading his way. When the ship was close enough to the island, a dinghy was dispatched to investigate the situation. The man on the island was overjoyed with the chance to be rescued and met his saviors as they landed.
After some preliminary conversation the man in charge asked the man on the island how he had survived for so many years.
The man replied by telling of his exploits for food and how he was able to make a fine house to live in. In fact, the man said, "You can see my home from here. It's up there on the ridge."
He pointed the men in the direction of his home. They looked up and saw three buildings. They inquired about the building next to the man's house and he replied, "That's my church - I go there to worship on Sundays."
When asked about the third building, the man replied, "That's where I used to go to church."
Maybe you can relate.
I was raised in the Catholic tradition. My parents were catholic and that's just what we did. Mass was on Sunday morning and we three brothers tried to sit still through it all. We had almost the whole ceremony memorized, because it did not change much from week to week.
Our church was Holy Family Catholic Church on Murray Street in Wallaceburg.
When I reached an age where I made a decision that Catholic church was just not for me, it caused quite an uproar in our household. I felt bad about it but, when you're a teenager, you are starting to make life decisions on your own, and for me that was one of them. If I had to turn back the clock, I would have done things differently and been more respectful to my parents, but it is what it is.
I went to several different churches in Wallaceburg, Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal, United. I never really settled into just one.
When I left the small town for the big city of North Bay to go to Canadore College, I was supposed to go back to Catholic Church because I lived with my Aunt and Uncle and they were Catholic. It was respectful thing to do since I was under their roof. It lasted for a while, but again my young and foolish ways caused a big stink. I found another church I wanted to go to and made my decision known. A line was drawn and I ended up moving out on my own! Oh the memories! My mom on the phone, begging me to stay put, me "making a stand". It was not fun.
The church I went to in North Bay after that, was to me, the best thing ever! The people were friendly and really loved the Lord. Their music was lively and exciting. We would pray every morning. Church was Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night to! There were home groups, outreach nights on the streets and even a Saturday night coffee house! Church activity soon took over all my spare time and my studies suffered. I left the dream of working in Christian television and instead threw myself into whatever the church had going on.
This part of the story is a cautionary tale about church and church stuff. Some things that are good can turn bad. This is what happened to me. In my eagerness to be the best Christian I could be, I surrendered certain areas of my life over to a very strong and narcissistic form of leadership within the church and the larger fellowship it was a part of. It was only after I began to question the things I was a part of, that I realized there was a lot of manipulation going on and not much Christian ministry. Sadly these things happen out there and the more you do your homework, the more protected you will be from going through anything like this. That's a whole other blog topic for another day...
My family and I eventually left that organization and were without a church for a bit. We DID have a home bible study in our home with a few of the other families who were also hurting from spiritual abuse. That bible study grew into another church in North Bay. Our building was a movie theater downtown! It was fun times!
Eventually (and I am skipping a lot here) we ended up in Sudbury, where I began to attend another great Church called All Nations!
|The All Nations Dome|
The pastor is Jeremy Mahood, who has an amazing story and a rich heritage within the community.
|Pastor Jeremy Mahood|
All Nations is currently building an amazing domed church! All Nations has a great congregation and does so much for the city. Every year they put on the Living Nativity on the grounds of Science North, with the final performance on Christmas Eve, complete with fireworks as the angels sing Hallelujah!
And now that we are in Barrie, I am blessed to be part of Bradford Community Church where some wonderful friends of ours go. It's a church that values relationships and reaches out to the city in unique ways!
I pray you find a caring group of believers to link up with!