Sunday, April 28, 2013

Church and Women's Ministry

For the last couple of years I've been on a quest to find a new church to attend.  This has not been easy.  I was raised in one faith and attended that church into adulthood.  When my girls were little we went there as well, but in high school most of the kids at their school attended a different church.  So we started going there occasionally.  While I have attended quite often over the last few years, I always feel like a "visitor" there.  The pastor is a gifted speaker and his sermons are meaningful to every day life.  We always attend their marvelous Christmas programs.  But I've had two concerns -- the church is huge (three services and an overflow room) which makes it difficult to feel personally connected, and it's up by Santa Cruz which is a bit of a trek from my house.  So I've visited some other churches closer to home -- feeling uncomfortably like I was shopping for a pair of shoes that didn't pinch, weren't too big or too small, weren't too dressy or too casual.  I've been praying for guidance, wrestling with a bit of guilt about not turning back to the church of my youth, searching my soul, questioning my spiritual roots...   While such things must be taken seriously, it can also lend itself to over-thinking and paralysis by analysis. 

Then last year I decided to revisit a nondenominational church that is not too big, not too small.  Practical, Bible based sermons. Active congregation.  Simple mission:  Worship Jesus - Love One Another - Serve the World. Encouragement to get to know one another and be actively involved in church ministries.  In the meantime, my "old" church has contacted me.  So I do plan to go there again next month for a visit.  Maybe I will feel reconnected with those deep roots that were part of so many memories as I was growing up and raising my children when they were young.  Maybe it has changed and also encourages more involvement than just sitting in a pew and driving home afterward.  Or maybe it will confirm that I'm on the right path with this newly found church.  But I owe it to myself to at least go back and visit again.

Anyway, this lengthy introduction was really just a segue to tell you about the Women's Ministry Luncheon (sponsored by the "new" church) I attended yesterday at Corral De Tierra Country Club.  I have been to this venue for a couple of things before, but it's been awhile and I'm always awestruck by the beauty of this setting in the hills between Salinas and Monterey.  Had I not been driving, I would have taken pictures en route of the peaceful fields of blue wildflowers and cows resting beneath trees.

Besides talking with a couple of women with displays representing mission projects in Africa (I can always chat on and on about that!), I enjoyed getting to know some of the women seated at my table and was inspired by the guest speaker's presentation about faith and listening for God's guiding voice in life.  Lovely day!

For more photos of this lovely location, click here:  Corral de Tierra

Today is the Big Sur Marathon so since traffic snarls make driving around Monterey a bit daunting, I decided to stay home and catch up on projects, fling open the windows and give my house a good cleaning, and play with my doggies.  For more beautiful photos of the Big Sur Marathon course, click here:  Big Sur Marathon.  It's worth taking 5 minutes to click through the scenery and successes!  Of course, everyone is thinking about the victims, survivors and heroes of the Boston Marathon.  Goodness abounds, and it should make our hearts soar to know how many more people stand for good, help and hope in this world than for evil.   A friend of mine said that whenever something bad happens in the world, it is a sign to go out and do something good.  Let's make this a week of going out and doing GOOD!  


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