One Sunday morning, I walked in late to church, looking for our family. I spotted Peter’s head and joined him and Marilee in the pew. They weren’t hard to locate. Our church holds a maximum of 200 people, and most Sunday mornings we see 60 or so. Also, we sit in one of the four front pews on the right side. Every. Single. Week.
Penny wasn’t sitting with them, but I wasn’t surprised to find her with a quick scan of the rest of the sanctuary. She was nestled next to our friend Deb. Penny usually scoots into someone else’s family on Sunday mornings. I used to worry that she was imposing herself or interrupting the contemplative possibilities for other people. Now I rest assured that Penny is more than welcome next to anyone.
Sometimes I bemoan the limitations of our church’s size. There are hardly ever other teenagers in the pews. There are very few bells or whistles. Our pastor does a great job preaching, but she also manages the budget and lay visitations and youth ministry and groundskeeping and counsels couples in need and bakes the bread for communion, so her time is spread thin.
Everyone does everything together. We don’t have small groups or a family ministry or a men’s ministry or a singles ministry. The Bible study I lead on Sunday mornings has participants from age 20 to 82.
But those very same limitations have, over time, been what makes the church such a gift to our family. A place where everyone knows us and welcomes us as we are. A place where we are not only known but needed. A place where our kids are not inclined to show up because they will be impressed but because they will be loved.
So I am giving thanks for the blessings of a small church in the country, for the slow and sometimes hidden ways of grace.
More with Amy Julia:
- Penny Sharing in Church for DSA Month
- S6 E8 | Christmas, When Church Lets You Down with Bekah McNeel
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