Finding a church

I have been a Christian since I can remember. I was born one and made a conscious decision to stay a Christian when I was old enough to make the choice myself. Naturally, as a practising Christian, I go to church on most Sundays. As such, one of the key things on my to do list for when we arrived in Calgary was to find a church to settle as a family in.

My first port of call was good old google. I searched for churches in the area I knew we would be living in and I quickly settled for one that seemed to tick all the boxes based on their website. Their website looked exciting, Jesus. Check. Kids church, Check. 8 minutes drive from my house, even better.

Excitedly, this morning, I got everyone ready and we got to church 10 minutes late. Not too bad as we still met the worship session. The preaching was okay but I missed most of it because my kids would not settle in the adults church and I had trouble trying to get them into the kids church.

However, I felt anything but welcome as soon as we walked in. I have to confess that I did not fully appreciate the importance of ushers until my experience this morning. This church was a big church, I will estimate about 250 members with three services every Sunday. So, surely, having new members shouldn’t be new to them. In my experience in church for the last 20+ years, new people get even special treatment. We get asked to put up our hands and additional information about the church gets handed to us. People go out of their way to say hello to us and most definitely, an usher welcomes you to the church and tries to find you a seat in this new environment.

However, no one said a word to us when we arrived, there was no usher in sight. If there was one, we didn’t notice him or her. I had to find a seat for the four of us, and once settled, I headed off to find the kids church.

Now, this was where I decided I was never going back to that church again. The kids seemed to be sitting and watching a video about a lesson there were to be learning about before the breakout sessions. Nothing wrong with this, however, I couldn’t find an adult to ask how the kids church worked, if I could deposit my kids there for the next hour, where to sign them in, etc. There was no one to ask. I went back with my now disappointed son, who couldn’t understand why he couldn’t join the other kids and this time, there was a gentleman dispensing sweets for the kids, he glanced once at me, with two kids in my hands and went back to dispensing sweets. No hello, nothing. I had to remind myself I was at church.

I took my son to the bathroom, once again, bumped into another Sunday school teacher, I was eager to say hello and maybe finally ask her how to go about using the Sunday school, once again, she didn’t look interested in having a chat and was focused on the kids she brought to use the toilet. Which is fine.

To avoid going into too much detail, it was not a very nice feeling and I can’t imagine experiencing this and going back to church if I was not a Christian. I reported my experience to a friend and she asked maybe they were having an off day but, there were so many people involved in this off day that could have at least said hello. I wanted to say hello, but no one held my gaze long enough for me to do just that. It was a very upsetting experience if I am being honest.

I really wanted to like the church. I mean, I had spent ages on their website for the last three months and was so eager to get involved. We won’t be going back and my search for a warm welcoming church continues.

Most importantly, this serves as a reminder to me to be warm and friendly to people, particularly as a Christian. More so when I am at church. Church is where we encourage non-Christians to come to learn more about Christ, learning about Christ starts with the individual.

I hope we find somewhere soon!

Enjoy your week!

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LHR to YYC

Eeek!

It has been so difficult to write this blog. I started writing it on 7 February and couldn’t bring myself to complete it. Maybe now that I’m thousands of feet in the air and finally on our way to Calgary, I have plenty of time in the 8.5 hours or so it will take us to get there to complete this blog.

My family and I are moving to Calgary, Alberta and I have been in total denial about this.

Our love affair with YYC started two years ago when we visited a couple of friends over there. After our first night. We started exploring the option of moving.

We expected the process of applying for permanent residence to be long and tedious but it was surprising quick. It required providing a lot of information upfront but once this was done the rest of it was straightforward. We are grateful for the opportunity to start our lives somewhere new and exciting and looking forward to the prospects of creating beautiful and exciting memories together.

However, it isn’t all singing and dancing as I am a bit apprehensive about the move. A lot of people have said I have nothing to worry about and although I believe them, it does not change the fact we are taking a big step and a big risk. We are leaving good jobs, great schools for kids and the comfort blanket of having great friends and family surrounding us to move to a country where we will have to rebuild what we know all over again. I will be moving from a country that has become home, where everything is familiar and we are nicely settled, to another with numerous unknowns in a different continent.

We all know you don’t buy everything in the same place, well I certainly do not. For example, I can buy my milk anywhere because it’s just milk but I drive to Tesco for their brioche because my family love their brioche. I will need to find a supermarket that actually does the brioche my children like. This proved difficult when we visited back in January.

For celebrations, I will need to find a lovely bakers to put my Pinterest downloads into edible form.

Not to forget, learning the new tricks about commuting downtown, what is the best time and station to travel from.

Learn the new ‘lingo’. I know they speak English, but every country has its lingo I’ve come to find. For example, it took my a while to understand British humour, but now I do and I love it. I can laugh for days at a British joke but 15 years ago, I just didn’t get it.

So, you get the drift. I’m going to have to learn it all again. It is okay however, because it is an adventure and I’m privileged enough to be doing this with my family.

The hardest part of this whole ordeal has been my family and my friends. You know the ones that are really there for you when it matters? The ones that are just totally amazing, the ones you can’t even think of replacing, those are the people that make this move all the more painful.

It has been such an emotional few days for us. My sister in law who is just great on so many levels! I couldn’t be the wife and mum I am today without my Sister Ore! She has been a constant rock, a constant support! She has been a sister. Let’s just say the tears were never ending. It will be a lot to adjust to not being able to just pick up the phone to call her as often as I will like because of the time difference.

My friend become big sister, Buki. She is all sorts of amazing as well, and extremely thoughtful! She is cool and extremely resourceful. The kind of friend that stops in unannounced with a tonne of thoughtful gifts that make you tear up. I have learnt so much from her in such a short space of time and I’m sure going to miss her.

My best friend, Vese. It’s been an extremely emotional one. I’m not going to dwell on this paragraph. All I will say is thank you. Thank you for being amazing. Our friendship is going to be tested by distance and time, but I trust that we will be okay. I will miss you loads.

I will talk about the practicalities of our moving in another blog, but until then, I’m going to cry some more before we land in YYC because I’ve promised myself, Calgary is going to be happy, we are going to be happy and it will be worth it all!

JDIM