Thursday, October 15, 2009
We've been attending our church for more than a year, and attending regularly for just under a year. Josh has found his niche and ministry and is starting to really make some friends and serve in the church. Now it's my turn.
Last month I received a bookmark with a list of monthly meetings for "Presbyterian Women." They are studying Joshua. I thought that was a great start for finding a bible study and meeting some other people in the church. (We don't have a small group program as it is under renovation.)
Last night I attended the first meeting, ready to learn about and study Joshua. (I felt studying Joshua so appropriate since I started to read it a few months ago.)
I was initially quite nervous. I arrived about 15 minutes early and didn't want to be the first one there, so I sat in my car a bit. I saw another car arrive and two white-haired ladies exit the vehicle and go up to the front door. Suddenly I thought I should go home. I didn't want to be the only non-grandparent there. But I sucked it up and went inside.
I recognized 2 of the 3 women who where there already. One woman, however, I've had a couple of notso-positive encounters with. I tried to keep an open mind. The Presbyterian Women are VERY active in the community and with community events and ministering to those in need. One of the ministries is delivering blankets to the shelters; so we sat there and tied knots in blankets while listening and planning.
There were a total of 6 of us there. They all recognized me as the "woman with the baby," or "the wife of the drummer." It became painfully obvious that I need my own identity. And as I suspected, I was the only non-grandma in attendance.
Presbyterian Women is also an organization, nation-wide. I've never attended a denominational church that was so heavily reliant and involved with their denomination. I've attended several E-Free churches, which operate very independently from their denominations. So seeing a nation-wide organization through the church is a little weird for me.
At any rate, it became very obvious that at least at our church, Presbyterian Women are an organization first and a bible study second. We spent the first 20 minutes just chatting. Then we went over business items. Basically a summary of what was discussed at the last business meeting with the church leadership. That lasted probably 30-40 minutes. THEN we passed around a pouch to collect membership dues. I was really caught offguard with that. Membership dues for a bible study?? That was when it dawned on me that it's not a bible study, but an organization. I don't carry cash with me, so I had to pass it and say I'll catch up next time. Then we FINALLY started the bible study.
But we didn't even open our bibles. We didn't read the passage. We didn't open in prayer. Nothing. We read the from the book (which is written specifically for Presbyterian Women) and answered only a couple of the questions. Then we closed in the pre-written generic prayer at the end of the lesson. It felt very cold. The bible study aspect of the meeting only lasted 20 minutes, maybe.
I am very hungry for a BIBLE study. A fellowship of believers. Prayer time with other sisters. I don't feel like I will get it from this group.
However, I was encouraged (by my very supportive and awesome husband) to go again next month.
The Presbyterian Women group in our church is responsible for all the craft activities and many of the local outreach ministries in which our church participates. I have been wanting to join some of those outreach groups, so this might just be the way to do it. I just have to accept that this is more of a ministry/outreach group than a bible study.
I have a month to pray about it and decide if I want to go back.
And nothing is stopping me from reading the passages and praying on my own.