As Kelly and I drove home from the Bison Jazz Orchestra concert tonight, we passed one of the many churches in this small town. “How many-” Kelly started to ask, and I expected her to continue with the exasperated, “churches are in this town?” but instead she asked, “churches have you been to in Shawnee?”
A very interesting question, and as I recited them all, she declared it “post-worthy,” so here I am. In alphabetical order, with *’s indicating churches attended with regularity:
Bean & Berry Mission (I don’t actually remember the name of this one, but it was a home-church type deal held in the Bean & Berry Café… back when it was on Kickapoo)
*First Baptist Church of Shawnee
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Immanuel Baptist (English)
Immanuel Baptist (Spanish)
*St Benedict’s Catholic
*St John’s Lutheran
*Wesley United Methodist
I’ve probably forgotten a few… for half a semester a friend and I would choose a different church each Sunday to go to, but I can’t remember more than a couple of them. More often than not, I would go to one church’s early service and then to another’s later service, or go to one in the morning and one in the evening. Currently, I only attend one church–but I say this as I’m considering going to two churches this Sunday, since the Episcopal bishop is in town. I’ve come full circle: I began by attending UBC, and now attend there again, and plan to until I leave in June.
“If you were a character in a book, I’d wonder what you’re looking for,” Kelly said. I would too. In some ways I wish I’d had a “church home” the past five years I’ve lived here, but in other ways, I’ve really gained a lot by experiencing a wide range of churches. I confidently call myself “Christian” without claiming any denomination; a multilingual Christian: finding beauty and wonder in the liturgy, joy and freedom in an evangelical service.
I’d like to say that I would settle down once I move back to my hometown for the summer, but I’ve rubbed off on my parents. They attend both Lutheran and Baptist services, and when I’m with them, I attend either, or a Methodist church on my own. Maybe in Scotland, maybe someday.