Thursday, 20 March 2008

Holy Week

Well, just one more note about something that is quite different here in Scotland. Church. It doesn't feel like Holy Week here.

As I've shared with some of you, we have been church shopping since our arrival and we really miss our St. Luke's family and friends. The majority of churches in Scotland are part of the church of Scotland or what we would consider the Presbyterian church. There are church buildings everywhere but not many of them are filled on a Sunday morning or at any time for that matter. I really took for granted that we lived in the "Bible Belt" and could choose a variety of spirit filled churches to attend on almost every corner!

And I don't know about you, but I really need a community of believers to serve with on a regular basis. Not only does it help me learn and grow spiritually but it reminds me of my purpose, and Lord knows, I need to be reminded. We believe that is also gives our children the opportunity to realize that they are part of a much bigger community.

In our search, we've attended 4 Episcopal churches and one Church of Scotland parish. It really breaks your heart to see these beautiful churches with empty pews, except for a few very elderly souls, and not enough money to turn the heat on. We have few friends that attend church on any regular basis and the ones that do, attend St. John's Renfield, the above stated Church of Scotland parish. Although we like this church and it seems to have the most children of any church we've been to, I never feel like I've truly worshipped when I head home. Maybe it's just me. The music is wonderful but the sermons and the rest of the service seem hollow. Having been raised in the Episcopal Church, I do tend to expect a little more pomp and circumstance than the rest of my family but this church just doesn't fill me with the spirit. They have an interim pastor and he is "old school", a little gruff and certainly behind the times. One Sunday, during a Baptismal service, he preached about the woes of the children in our society and how horrible they are. Certainly not the great, hope filled Baptismal lessons I am used to hearing. After that particular Sunday, we tried the another new church and have been attending there ever since.

St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, the cathedral for the diocese of Glasgow is a beautiful church with a great mix of people in the congregation. I love the liturgy, although at times it can seem a little more formal than what we were used to at St. Luke's. There is a children's class during the service that the boys enjoy and we've met a few other families with young children. Scott and I will head there tonight for the Maundy Thursday service and we will attend yet another new church in Dunbar this weekend!

I was warned about the spiritual void that I might experience here as compared to our life in Dallas but I guess I wasn't quite expecting it to be this challenging! We will continue to search and pray for the Spirit to lead us to our new church home in Scotland.

1 comment:

VBB said...

Sometimes I too get a little misty-eyed when I think about sitting near our friends in our special section of those pie-slice-shaped pews at St. Luke's.

Since we left Dallas, I have learned that the church is larger--no, GOD is larger--than any one place or building. Nevertheless, I also know that a sense of community matters, especially when you have young children and it can be easy to wonder why you're even making the effort to get everyone scrubbed up, dressed, and out the door so that they can then squirm and sigh loudly and generally misbehave during the service. :)

So tomorrow, Gwen, all you really need to do is to say to yourself, "He is risen." And then listen for all of your friends, myself very much included, responding, "He is risen indeed!" We'll be there, saying it and knowing the hope and comfort that He brings.