Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Joy of Fellowship

God has been faithful to provide me with a good church body to call "home" while in Jackson. A neat thing happened to help us find it... First, Dad had tried to look up a church that would have a lot of families, but he just got the names of a few Presbyterian churches in town. So, we planned to try Pear Orchard Presbyterian on my first Sunday at college. Unexpectedly, we ran into a dancer from Ballet Magnificat on Saturday night, whom I had met at the summer dance intensives and run into again at New Attitude in May. We asked her which church she went to, and when she said Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church, we knew for sure that it was the one to try!

That Sunday I went with my parents, and we enjoyed the Sunday school and service, and met many very nice people. Also there was sweet Betsy, my first counselor at the Ballet Magnificat Summer Dance Intensive. It was so good to see her and Katie again!

So this Sunday, I knew that I'd return to Pear Orchard Presbyterian - it was a very nice church body, with many families, some of them rather large, and some of them homeschoolers. I once again went to Sunday school and the service, saw people I'd met the week before, and met even more people. Everyone was very kind and welcoming!

That evening, I decided to go back for their fellowship supper, singing, and a ceilidh (Scottish dance). I was a bit nervous about going when I still didn't know anyone that well, but I remembered what Josh Harris had written in Stop Dating the Church - how we should get involved with a local body, and not just be onlookers. So, I timidly walked in the door to a huge crowd of people, unsure of where I'd sit or what I'd do.

Well, God was so good to give me good fellowship! As soon as I walked in, a woman I'd met that morning invited me to sit with her and her family with 4 children. There I met even more people as they introduced themselves or Beth found them to introduce me to. Two different people, whom I'd never met before, even gave me their numbers and told me to call anytime! I enjoyed the delicious food (better than the cafeteria!), good conversation, and seeing young children again. During supper, the worship band played Celtic music, then they and the choir led us in wonderful worship to our God Most High.

After that, we prepared for the ceilidh. It was so much fun! You truly get to know people when you dance with them. =) A lady taught us four dances, including her version of the Virginia Reel (everyone seems to have their own!). Now I have new dances to teach the group back home!

Fellowship with God's people is a wonderful thing. I met students who attend Belhaven, and people who have graduated from it. I danced next to a girl named Anna, 9 years younger than I, who thought it so neat that we had the same name. I enjoyed being with families, instead of just people my own age. I haven't yet known people enough to ask to hold their children, but that will come in time. :-)

I praise God for leading me to Pear Orchard Presbyterian, which I can truly call my home church away from home. As my schedule gets busy, I don't know if I'll be free to go every Sunday evening, but I will at least go each Sunday morning I am here.

Are you involved in a church body? If you don't know people that well, I encourage you to try to get to know them and participate in the fellowship. If you are firmly rooted in a local church, I encourage you to reach out to newcomers. It is so encouraging to the newcomer when people introduce themselves and talk with them. Never hesitate to welcome them and be a friend!


Anonymous said...

Hi anna, Ive got a question for you, if someone is a non-denominational christian, can you just automatically join any church you want, or must you be baptized in that specific religion to be able to call yourself a Luthern or a Presbyterian... If you know, I'd like your opinion. Thanks! Glad you're having a great time in college!

Anna Naomi said...

Anonymous: I'm not really sure - I think each denomination has different guidelines. Some will want you baptized a certain way, others may want you to go through a class. If you're interested in joining a church, just ask them and they should tell you want they require.

Luke and Michele said...

That is so good that you have already found a church family. It took me a while in college to find a church to fellowship with. Kind of interesting that Luke and I both ended up at the same church! :) LORD willing we will all see you next weekend!

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful! So glad to hear that God is blessing you as you move forward in His plan.

Maria Pauline

Anonymous said...


I read your blog regularly and find it interesting to see two young women's journey into adult-hood. There is one thing, however, that repeatedly detracts from my reading experience, and I say this with all due respect, could you please work on the correct usage of then/than?


Anna Naomi said...

Michele: I thought it would take me a while as well, but I found a good church on my first Sunday, and liked it enough to want to go back.

FPK: I will certainly work hard on correcting my errors! As you noticed, I often have trouble distinguishing between them. However, I looked up the proper usage and will try hard to pay attention and make sure I use the right then/than. Thank you for pointing that out!

Oh - and was there a certain instance in this post, or were you just pointing it out generally? I read through this post and couldn't find a mis-usage,so please point it out if there is one.

Michaela said...

I think I used to go there! My dad went to seminary in Jackson, and we attended Pear Orchard for a while! That's really neat!

Anonymous said...

In this post, I noticed it here:
(better then the cafeteria!)

Since you are making a comparison, it should be than. I noticed it before, but thought it might simply be an error of haste. Many of us have difficulty hearing the difference between the two words and mistakenly type the wrong one without thinking. Sometimes, its useful to make a distinction in how you pronounce the words. Eventually, you start to hear them correctly in your head and it isn't such an issue.

I'm glad you didn't take my comments too harshly, I meant them sincerely!


Sweet Charity said...

Props to you for getting involved so quickly! It can be very hard to just jump in when everyone seems to know everyone and you are the new kid in town. I hope this Church Home away from Home is wonderful to you.

Oh, and the then/than mistake FPK is talking about is "better then the cafeteria!". It should be better than, not then. :)

Anna Naomi said...

Michaela: That's neat! It is a good church.

FPK: Thanks for pointing it out - I have now edited it. I read the post through twice and never noticed it. It's always harder to spot your own mistakes! I shall try to be more careful from now on.

Mardi said...

Congratulations on finding a home church away from home! That is awesome!!

Rebekah S. said...

Dear Anna,

I finished the dress I told you about!! :) Go here for the pics:


Bonnie S said...

I'm glad you have found a church fellowship where you feel welcome! :-) Sounds like there are some lovely people there.

His Princess said...

I'm so glad you found a church to go to! That will make you feel right at home in a new area.

I have a hard time remembering 'than' and 'then' so I use two phrases to jog my memory:

"Rather than..."
"And then..."

Hope this helps!

P.S. Just for the record, any grammatical errors you may have made have never bothered me. But then I'm a very fast reader!! I really enjoy your blog.