Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reformed - a matter of time

I have left my old church and have ventured into the doors of the United Reformed Church (here on in: URC) community. That is to say I am committing to the URC now, I have attended services for the better part of 2 years and have been in Bible study (Sanctuary) with mostly URC girlfriends since 2007.

Last summer I was faced with a decision as I knew I was leaving the Baptist church I had been attending since moving to Hamilton: do I join the URC or do I help out this new church plant that's kind of affiliated with the Baptist Convention of ON & QC and is full of people who love Jesus, love justice and want to impact the city for God? I chose the latter, in part for it's 'social justice' bend and in part because I wasn't quite ready to go from a very "come as you are" church to a very reformed church; I had flashbacks to my grandparent's Roman Catholic church and wasn't sure I was ready for that. Besides, I (whether or not this is true...) believed that it would be easier to attend the church plant and decide to go reformed, than the other way around. So I did.

I met with Kevin, the pastor of the church plant, and his wife Meg before deciding to commit to the church and shared some of my concerns and thoughts and basically where I was at in terms of why I was leaving my old church and what I needed from a church. I think if I had listened more carefully and prayed about it a little more, my eyes would have been opened to the fact that this church plant was going to be even more liberal than the church I was leaving and the issues I was facing (lack of reverence) would probably be more prominent. I was excited for the opportunity to get involved and I jumped at it with my whole self, as is typical for me.

Soon I started to notice that there were some things I just couldn't get past, some were personal preferences and others were more significant. I continued to meet with Kevin and be in communication with him as the months wore on. My heart wasn't fully in it, even though I was supposed to be part of the core group that was helping get this thing going - I was leading a ministry (or trying to...it was a hard year) and was one of the older members.

There were so many things for me to be doing, and at first I was. Then, I got a new job, crashed my car, watched from afar as my dad got sick, flew to BC a couple times, went to Haiti and was at my dad's bedside when he passed away. When I came back from all that (4 1/2 months), I was done and I had nothing left to give.

It was time for me to enter into a place of peace and quiet and I just wasn't going to get that at this church. I started attending the URC more and having more theological conversations with my dear friends and their parents (and their parents' friends ... thanks to the Schotsman's and the Bruining's for letting us crash their social time one Saturday night).

For so long, I've wanted to be part of a church that was focused on God and the reverence of God and not on the people within the church - no matter the good they wanted to do. I wanted to attend a church where men would step up and be men and I could step aside and not be expected to lead a ministry, because there were so few people willing to do so. I wanted to go somewhere that really delved into Scripture and wasn't so focused on entertaining people. I wanted a church where people pulled together - and I mean everyone, not just the same handful each week. I longed for accountability. There were so many things I was looking for in a church that I knew were to go to get them, but wasn't quite sure I was ready to make the switch.

Last Sunday was my last week at my old church and I've been attending the URC pretty consistently now and let Rev. van O know 2 weeks ago that I was committing to the URC.

Come autumn, I'll be enrolling in catechism classes so I can do my profession of faith and become a member - assuming that I agree with their doctrine (certain that won't be an issue).

One of the highlights is that my closest friends are from this community and I look forward to worshiping with them each week.

I don't imagine it will be easy, I'm already beginning to see that every church has its cliques and politics - I suppose what really matters is who is the foundation? We're all human, we're all going to fall short of the glory of God, but as long as we recognize that (and don't use it as an excuse!) and continually humble ourselves before God and each other, I believe that this will be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with me and the reformed.

Besides, everyone who has known me over the last 5 or 6 years has commented "we knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time".


  1. I LOVE the paragraph where you wrote about the kind of church you were looking for (reverence, men stepping up, delving into Scripture, community, accountability). It totally shows your heart, and I love it! :)

  2. Thanks Shirley, that means a lot!

  3. Love you too... praying that the transition is a smooth one and that you feel welcomed! You can sit with me any day!

  4. Wow, I loved reading this, Niki! It's nice to read where you've come from and your thoughts as you've gone down "life's paths" - sorry you've lost your dad. Mine passed away when I was 24 (he was 54) - not easy. And I'm very excited that you're planning on possibly joining the URC! Just an FYI - I am 100% Canadian and grew up in Baptist churches, long story how God put me where I am, and I firmly believe that He has guided all along! Our churches have their "issues" and some that people can't see - but like most churches and groups - hopefully we can work together to make things better and better, and more pleasing to our Lord and Saviour!