I’m on the hunt for a new church home.
Here’s what I realized I really value in a church:
- Local. I don’t have to be able to walk, but it’d be so nice if I could. I really do believe we are called to live in and serve the local community and our literal neighbours. Having to commute more than 15 minutes on a Sunday morning means a) mid-week meetings are difficult to get to because of weekday traffice and b) there’s a slim chance I’ll live close to the people I meet there, making maintaining friendships difficult. I already have friends in every corner of the GTA, and it’s hard to keep in touch. I need something close.
- Web presence. So many churches made it difficult to find out basic information. Some websites are so old they don’t accurately reflect what the present experience of your church offers. If you want a younger demographic, you’ll communicate well to them. We millennials speak internet.
- What do you believe? Figure it out! I mean, if “Family” is in the title of your church, are you a cult? Or look down upon singles? Or are you really inclusive and welcoming? I can’t tell. I am good at looking up people on the internet and can figure out where your pastor went to seminary, but not having a statement of faith is ridiculous.
- No Complimentarians. I believe that what makes people Christians is faith in Jesus and what makes us righteous is Christ’s righteousness. I do not need to be male to be worthy of leadership and when you add to the gospel like that I think you plant seeds that leads to the oppression of women, and the desecration of the image of God in us. So…yea, your website might look AWESOME but your view on women is DANGEROUS and I think you’re hurting people so no thanks.
The process was generally… discouraging. There are a lot of churches for Koreans and Chinese, there are a lot of older congregations without much in way of young people, and then there are all the young, vibrant Baptists and Presbyterians and non-denoms who don’t believe women can teach men… rude.
I won’t discuss churches that I eventually decided NOT to visit. Here are some of the churches I will be exploring:
Church of Our Saviour Don Mills (9 min drive)
- 8:30 am BCP, 10 am BCP/BAS
- coffee hour after each service
- mid-week yoga
- FB page
- beside a school
- no pictures of priests/bios
- weak website, but not horrible – seems like an older congregation
- seems really white
2. Bayview Family Church (13 min)
- 9:30 am
- seems vibrant
- church name is confusing, and no statement of belief on website.
- pastor is pentecostal
- do they idolize family?
The following are “maybes”… I’m going to pray a bit more about these:
1. Church of the Ascension (5 min drive)
- 8 am BCP, 10:30 BAS, 2nd Sunday each month “Contemporary” service
- small groups and Bible studies
- attached to a long-term care home
- website is slow to load, some pages don’t load, website is not updated
2. St Jude (Wexford) Anglican Church (10 min)
- 8 am BCP, 9:45 morning prayer, 10:30 BAS
- Seems vibrant
- Uses Spark for Sunday school and Mere Christianity for Adult learning
- 9:15 weekly Morning Prayer in Rector’s office is creepy
- older parish
Ultimately, I want to find a place where my soul can magnify God, and place where I can connect with people who are genuinely interested in community and fellowship. I think it takes time to feel comfortable enough somewhere to be able to focus on worship like that, and call people friends, but I know that things that distract me are a) stupid sermons, and b) feeling unwelcome and/or uncomfortable.
I’ll keep you updated with how it goes. And pray for me? :)