Sunday, May 15, 2022

5 years later

 After my latest weird dream sequence, I found my mind wandering to an alternate scenario where our church never split up.

I did the math and realized that it has been about 5 years since it all started. At the time, Sophia was a baby and I wasn't able to be involved much in the discussions that followed. It was painful to feel cut off at such a crucial time! 

If you read my blog a long time ago, you probably remember that Andrei and I both were involved a lot in our church even before we were married and had kids. And the church played a big role in our courtship and wedding.

I look at the kids now and imagine that in our old church, they would have both been attending Sunday school by now, and I would have probably been involved with music again or been attending a small group.

If we had all stayed in the same church, I had imagined the kids growing up with "church friends," who would possibly become friends for life. The year I had David, 4 other families were expecting babies. They were girls, but still could have been playmates for him.

-One family emigrated to Germany on a heritage visa, after their second child was tragically born at 24 weeks and passed away in the NICU here.

-One family emigrated to Canada, after years stuck in a cycle of poverty here.

-One family went back to the church the wife had attended before they married.

-And the other family started attending a more modern church with an impressive children's program, as that was something important to them.

If the church split had happened 3 years later, the pandemic would have been starting, and church would have been online. The arguments about music and lighting and coffee hour wouldn't have happened. But...maybe we would have argued about masks and whether or not to meet in person. In fact, I'm pretty sure the large group who broke away did in fact keep meeting, and gave each other Covid.

If the church split happened now, 5 years later, the kids would be old enough to entertain themselves as we attended the discussion sessions. I'd probably get too emotionally involved...even more than I was when it actually happened. 

Sadly, the church split probably would have happened over Ukraine if it hadn't happened already by then. I think that there was already some disagreement over the Crimea, not enough to really cause great offense, but I think that it would be hard to worship together while sharing different views on what is happening today.

It's probably good that people went their separate ways, but I always wonder if there's a way to address disagreements in a timely manner so as to prevent church splits. Or is it inevitable that churches eventually have a big conflict? Or should churches do some "pruning" periodically? Or just plan to split into smaller groups once they get to a certain size? For example, outgrow the space? Instead of looking for a new building, just split up?

Do you ever think about how life would be different if something happened in a different year?



2 comments:

  1. I haven't thought about it....but I will! Don't you have a church community you feel close to now? Catholic parishes don't really split as a protestant church might. Sometimes if there is conflict some people leave; they go to another parish with a more appealing "personality". But, I've not experienced that kind of split among the congregants - possibly because parishes are generally much larger? if you don't get along with one group, there's always another. In fact, at that parish one of the wordings considered for our mission statement said we were a "community of communities". That makes it easier to get along. I feel at odds because my new "church friends" are at the parish where I work; that's an hour from where I live, though. I like some people at the parish were Monica goes to school, but I just don't feel I fit in there, for some reason. I think probably because I can't be there on Sunday - that's pretty big, I guess. So a feel a bit "out" of a community, too. My Bible Study ladies who had been meeting together for years stopped meeting during COVID and somehow I doubt we'll ever get together again.... That saddens me; we shared so much.

    I am VERY grateful that Lydia's years of Irish dancing didn't fall during COVID. That was just so much fun, so much joy for all of us, that would have been lost.

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    1. That's interesting! Maybe the Catholic church structure is simply more regulated, so there's no need to discuss certain questions? Are there any power struggles within the parish itself? It felt like in our case we were not set up to even have an established method for problem-solving, despite Andrei working hard on a set of by-laws. Covid has been rather isolating. We probably would have grown apart from people regardless of the church. It's been a bit slow-going since we didn't see some people for 2 years and still don't have everyone coming in person again. So already slow relationships take even longer to form.

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