Finding a new church is not easy.
I learned this from what was my first endeavor to find a church entirely on my own, without family or friends to guide or influence me. It’s kind of nice making this decision independently because everybody looks for different things. And what I want is a traditional church service with lots of music and a church with a strong music ministry.
But it’s tough. There are many, many churches to choose from (especially in this part of the country), and you can really only go to one a week, so it takes a while to narrow down the search. Plus, even with the help of the internet (which was, I found, a very big help), you can’t really get a sense of a church without visiting and attending a service.
I started my search with a Google rundown of all the churches within 10 minutes of my apartment. I contacted them or looked on their websites to eliminate the ones that don’t have choirs and bell choirs. From there, I formed my list of potential candidates, my list of churches to visit.
That’s when the real trouble set in. And by trouble, I mean guilt.
The thing is, all church people are incredibly welcoming and nice. Double that when you are under the age of 30. Seriously, I walk in the door, and they flock. “Youth! Fresh blood!” I tell them I’m interested in getting involved, and they practically jump up and down. I mention I’ve been singing for years and have experience playing handbells, and they’re ready to hug me. I wish that were an exaggeration.
“It’s like church rush,” one of my friends commented when I gave her the rundown on my process.
And it is. Except that every church genuinely wants me. And I feel horrible because I have to turn all but one of them down. So now I have a case of church hunter’s guilt.
But I guess that’s the way it goes. And the silver lining, obviously, of having gone through the church recruitment process, as long and confusing and sometimes stressful as it might’ve become, is that I found the church for me: First Church of Christ in Wethersfield.
It’s close to my apartment and in the beautiful, historic downtown. The services are enjoyable and similar to what I’m used to. The sermons are thought-provoking and relatable. Best of all—and arguably the largest factor in my decision—the music program is great. On my first visit, I was truly impressed by the choir. And I don’t know if I’ve ever said that about a church choir (don’t get me wrong, church choirs are great, but I don’t really expect them to meet my concert choir standards). In fact, there are multiple choirs, they prepare music beyond just service repertoire, and they have several concerts a year outside. What’s more, there are multiple bell choirs that also perform concerts and participate in festivals. So, needless to say, that won me over.
And that’s where this adventure ends. I found my church, my music outlet and a community of old people to love me.
Plus, now I get to start my Sundays in a building that was established in 1635. How cool is that?