Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 47
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0

    Choosing a church?

    Does anyone have any advice on choosing a church? I haven't attended church regularly for about 13 years. I was raised Catholic, but have major issues with the church so I stopped going. However, there are things about Catholicism that I'm fairly tied to, and so it has been easier to not go to church than to find another one.

    But I miss church. I miss the community and I miss the growth in faith attending church provides (I pray, but that's really it.)

    I just have no idea how to go about finding a church. I'm honestly pretty uncomfortable with the idea of just showing up a few times and seeing what it is like. (Especially because I have no idea how to dress, and I'm scared of people.) I've viewed the websites of various churches and I can tell which ones are traditional and which ones are more modern, but they all outline about the same beliefs.

    Part of the problem is that I'm really liberal....

    So how do you find a church to fit you?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    with the traditionless
    Posts
    5,620
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    8583
    I am not sure there is any other way to really find a church other than going and checking it out in person. Asking through friends would be a good starting place though. And the website should give you a clue as to how conservative it is by how they define their beliefs about the bible – generally, if they make a big deal about the bible be the authoritative and definitive source, it is conservative. If it the bible is more of a guideline, the church is likely more liberal. I find bigger churches are better for shy people since you stand out less.
    What would Jenny do?

  3. #3
    Shadow dancing
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    A small camper in the woods.
    Posts
    16,371
    vCash
    800
    Rep Power
    25484
    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I just have no idea how to go about finding a church. I'm honestly pretty uncomfortable with the idea of just showing up a few times and seeing what it is like. (Especially because I have no idea how to dress, and I'm scared of people.) I've viewed the websites of various churches and I can tell which ones are traditional and which ones are more modern, but they all outline about the same beliefs.
    At the (Catholic) church I sometimes attend, the dress code is everything from traditionally dressy to jeans. The services are quite large/well populated, so you can hide in the crowd. There's quite a few people who don't take communion either, and people just slide around them.

    IOW, you should be fine no matter what you wear or where you sit.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    And the website should give you a clue as to how conservative it is by how they define their beliefs about the bible – generally, if they make a big deal about the bible be the authoritative and definitive source, it is conservative. If it the bible is more of a guideline, the church is likely more liberal.
    Every church I'm looking at is very 'bible infallible word of God'. Can some clue be given by which version they use? A few use NIV, which I know is considered to be WRONG!!!!! by many very conservative baptists, and I kind of consider that a good thing.

    A lot of the churches are non-denominational; and when I was growing up the kids I knew from non-denominational churches were the most conservative, as in they left conservative baptist churches to get more conservative; but I'm not sure if all non-denominational churches are like that.

    I am looking to stay with Christian churches, and I have some pre-existing views on various denominations, but I'm not sure what to think about non-denominational. It seems like that would be "easier" to attend as a lapsed Catholic, as I wouldn't be changing to another denomination. I don't know.... maybe I need to check out the Catholic church here. That would be easiest, as I know how mass works, even if they've since changed all the words.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    with the traditionless
    Posts
    5,620
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    8583
    Where in Iowa are you? I would expect Des Moines and Cedar Rapids to have some liberal churches. If you are closer to Nebraska, you may be SOL. Yeah, non-denominational probably = conservative. Maybe check out United Church of Christ or Episcopal churches. Iowa went for Obama so it can’t all be conservative though I think there are pockets of liberals within conservative spheres there. Catholic churches are probably the primo example of that, parishioners are usually more liberal than church doctrine, so it might not be a bad thing to stick with a Catholic church.
    What would Jenny do?

  6. #6
    Sexy Superhero
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Running Amok
    Posts
    932
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    My recommendation is to consider the cause(s) you are most interested in, whether it be feeding the homeless, job training, helping children, whatever. Then look for the churches that are most actively involved in that cause in your community. That way you will meet people with similar interests to you.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    Iowa went for Obama so it can’t all be conservative though I think there are pockets of liberals within conservative spheres there. Catholic churches are probably the primo example of that, parishioners are usually more liberal than church doctrine, so it might not be a bad thing to stick with a Catholic church.
    I live near Iowa City (near Cedar Rapids too, but not enough I'd go to CR regularly). It's the most liberal area of Iowa, but most of the people I know don't go to church or are Catholic.

    I agree most of the Catholic parishioners I know are more liberal than the church is; but that is part of the reason I stopped going to the church. I didn't agree with them, and it was painful to listen to. I felt like a hypocrite supporting the church body, even if the people were generally somewhat close to my beliefs.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue View Post
    My recommendation is to consider the cause(s) you are most interested in, whether it be feeding the homeless, job training, helping children, whatever. Then look for the churches that are most actively involved in that cause in your community. That way you will meet people with similar interests to you.
    That's good advice.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    3,089
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Every church I'm looking at is very 'bible infallible word of God'...
    Yes, it's hard to tell from a church's website whether they're conservative or liberal, because they're almost always going to cite Nicene Creed-related beliefs, which doesn't tell you much. You said you had problems with the Catholic doctrine, so depending upon what you didn't like, you can find other denominations that don't have those same beliefs. Just Google what you are looking for. For example, if you're gay-friendly, Google "gay-friendly churches," which will take you to www.gaychurch.org, which has a list of gay-friendly churches in your area. You'll find that a fair number of gay-friendly churches are also contraceptive-friendly and allow women to be ordained, so if those are other issues you had with the Catholics, there are some good fits for you there.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    www.gaychurch.org, which has a list of gay-friendly churches in your area.
    I'm wondering what this website considers to be gay friendly. It appears to just be a list of churches in my area (pretty much has all the main denomination ones listed and two or three of the non-denoms), both the Catholic and Baptist churches near me show up. Now, these churches may welcome gay people to come to their mass/service, but the doctrine they preach isn't gay friendly...


    I guess I'm just going to have to get over the fear of people and go sit in churches for the next few months till I find one I like. Then hope when I learn more about it I didn't make a huge mistake... (And yes, gay-friendly, contraceptive-friendly, women-friendly are all things I'm looking for.)

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    13,528
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    42165
    Many 'searchers" I know with a Catholic background find the Episcopal Church a good fit.
    There are variations among individual churches.
    However, you will find much that you are familiar with; and ways to engage with causes that matter to you, in most of them.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    3,089
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I'm wondering what this website considers to be gay friendly. It appears to just be a list of churches in my area (pretty much has all the main denomination ones listed and two or three of the non-denoms), both the Catholic and Baptist churches near me show up.
    That's where it gets tricky. While some individual congregations within denominations are somewhat gay-friendly, you may prefer not to be contributing and adding membership numbers to a larger organization that is not gay-friendly. Regarding Baptists, there are several flavors of them. The Southern Baptist Church is not gay-friendly, whereas the Alliance of Baptists is.

    And yes, gay-friendly, contraceptive-friendly, women-friendly are all things I'm looking for.
    Your search may benefit from directly contacting groups with those interests and asking them for church recommendations. For example, Google your city name with "Gay Christians" and see if there is an organization for them, then shoot them an email asking what local churches they recommend.
    Last edited by heckles; 08-27-2013 at 06:20 PM.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    with the traditionless
    Posts
    5,620
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    8583
    Here is a church in Iowa City that might be worth checking out. It is liberal given away by the following:

    1) Cites itself as open and inclusive
    2) Has a female pastor
    3) Has a belief statement in Jesus but not the Bible.

    http://fbciowacity.org/?page_id=38#nogo
    What would Jenny do?

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    11,015
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    Here is a church in Iowa City that might be worth checking out.
    Thanks. I'll look into it.

    I found one church that looked very promising, and was nearer to me, but then as I read further, I realized they meet in a field near a bike trail and then run after all their services as a form of meditation. I don't run!

  15. #15
    Bountifully Enmeshed
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    At the Christmas Bizarre
    Posts
    38,162
    vCash
    250
    Rep Power
    46687
    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    (And yes, gay-friendly, contraceptive-friendly, women-friendly are all things I'm looking for.)
    In terms of doctrine, then, I would second snoopy's suggestion to look into United Church of Christ or Episcopal churches.

    United Church of Christ: http://christianity.about.com/od/uni...uccprofile.htm

    There are a couple in Iowa City: http://faithchurchiowacity.blogspot.com/ and http://www.uccic.org/

    Episcopalian churches tend to vary more, but as someone else said, Catholics tend to feel more comfortable there than in Protestant churches. In terms of doctrine, though, I think you might find UCC a good fit--open to all, progressive, and focused on faith as a journey.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Cuddling the sheep smilie
    Posts
    8,988
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    7075
    Hello Skittl,
    I was also going to suggest Episcopalian churches, based on what you mentioned. Methodist churches could also be a good fit.

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    169
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    You might want to check if there is a "Reconciling in Christ" church near you. That may just be a Lutheran thing, but other denominations would have something similar. These are churches are who are publicly LGBT inclusive and are generally liberal. I belong to a RIC church in Sacramento. It's fun to attend a church where ALL are welcomed.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Two places! Atlanta suburbs and in the North Georgia Mountains
    Posts
    3,820
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    2089
    I joined an Episcopalian church 5 years ago because I had breast cancer, was terrified, and went to a healing prayer service on a Tuesday night. I was so impressed with the down-to-earth people and the love directed towards me that I came back. The result has been more than wonderful.

    If you are thinking about joining a church, you must be feeling a spiritual need which is a great thing. I wouldn't have any preconceived notions if I were you. I would visit some different places. I love what the above said about looking at how they serve the community, programs for the homeless, the hungry, hospital outreach, children's outreach....To me, that's what Christianity/religion is. Not joining a church or attending on Sundays but living it every day and loving others.

    I will tell you that the Episcopalian Church is divided right now, but if you're looking for gay/women's rights/green friendly, it's the best church to find as a large denomination IF you find an Episcopalian church that is one of liberal ones. There are conservative ones, but it's probably easy to determine which one is which with a little research. My church is extremely liberal, and I feel very comfortable there.

    I wish you much success on your journey. I will say a little pray for you that you will find a church that wraps its arms around you and loves on you! They are definitely out there.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Two places! Atlanta suburbs and in the North Georgia Mountains
    Posts
    3,820
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    2089
    Sorry for the double post. Not sure what happened!

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    3,089
    vCash
    500
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by RoseAugust View Post
    You might want to check if there is a "Reconciling in Christ" church near you. That may just be a Lutheran thing, but other denominations would have something similar.
    As with the Baptists, you have to carefully pick the shade of Lutheran. Lutherans of the Missouri Synod are not gay-friendly, whereas the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •