Church group: feel like an outsider

(12 Posts)
RoseWei Fri 12-Oct-12 19:51:51

Went back, after over a year away, to small women's prayer/bible study group a few days ago. Had to abandon it for a while cos of work schedule.

Never really felt a part of it but got on well with a couple of people in it and the readings etc made me think.

The other members are pretty well off, as it happens - good jobs/DHs in good jobs - where we struggle rather. DH work uncertain & though I work as much as I can, it's very difficult. Their kids seem to be doing well/happy - I have a rather unhappy younger one and one estranged child.

Today felt like the proverbial outsider - hardly a word said to me - felt awkward and sad. Felt like an interloper. I could walk away but it is the only house group of its kind (RC Church - doesn't go in for house groups generally) and I want regular communal prayer/discussion. Does this sound silly? Not one of them actually looked at me - except when I chipped in.

I try to be cheerful and upbeat - and would be genuinely - but the vibes weren't good. Over sensitive or time to ditch it and reflect solo? (DH & friends not remotely interested in anything even dimly related to religion.)

acorntree Fri 12-Oct-12 20:56:14

It's always hard when you've been out of a group for a while and want to rejoin. Do you have other friends or acquaintances in the parish who might be interested in a different group - not a rival group - but something like an advent reflection group that would just last a few weeks (as we're coming up to advent) and might not be seen as a rival group. Could you maybe start a little reflection group like that? Perhaps some of the other group would come along and that might give you a way back in to the original group?

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 12-Oct-12 21:40:40

It's not exactly their fault that they are more affluent than you, is it?

It's bad if they don't notice that you are trying to break in and include you more eagerly.

You can persevere. You can pray - when you are doing prayer time, ask the other women to pray for you and your growth in the group. Don't be shy. You can confide with the leader of the group about your feelings. She should be able to tactfully ensure that you are included.

You can also join a bible study group from a more welcoming church. They won't mind that you worship in the RCC.

RoseWei Sat 13-Oct-12 00:05:26

thanks for replies - appreciated.
Knowsabit - it certainly isn't their 'fault' they're well off but it simply compounds my feelings of aloneness in the group. I wouldn't, though, feel like that - at all - if I felt that I was a valued part of it. I feel that when I say something - and it is after some thought - they aren't even remotely interested.

The group leader couldn't have been colder at this meeting - no question of welcoming me back - I felt I was being tolerated - just.

I don't think another group would work - this is established and I can't see these members going anywhere else over Advent. And my connections within this particular church are pretty limited. A group from another church - I hadn't thought of that - thank you.

newlark Thu 18-Oct-12 21:00:24

Our church (CofE) has a number of bible study groups and I know that a number of people from other local churches (different denominations) attend - I hope you find a welcoming group somewhere.

springyhope Fri 19-Oct-12 00:37:36

Stories like this make me very, very cross. They're kind of missing the point - entirely - if they can't even welcome someone who is actually present, a real, live human being . You may get 'something' out of the readings etc but my guess is you'll get a lot more on your own. Not that that is ideal (at all) but you'll get nothing in this group. They're totally on the wrong track. There is no excuse for not making you feel welcome.

I heard a story of a smelly tramp who came to church and everyone gave him an extremely wide berth, wanted nothing to do with him. He walked up into the pulpit and took off his disguise. he was the vicar.

springyhope Fri 19-Oct-12 00:37:57

not that I'm saying you're smelly <arf>

MaryBS Fri 19-Oct-12 08:00:52

So much of this is based on vibes, rather than anyone actively being nasty. It doesn't mean that its not happening, but there may be room for misinterpretation. Can you speak to the leader, explain how vulnerable you felt coming back into the group?

I lead a home group, and I think I make everyone welcome, but there is always a risk I don't (I have Asperger's and my body language isn't that good), but if someone spoke to me, I would do my best to make sure it didn't happen again.

I hope you can get this sorted, its a horrible feeling, being excluded sad

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Fri 19-Oct-12 08:08:44

I would hope they didn't mean to do this but I agree there are more welcoming groups out there. Our church has a lot of housegroups and a bible study which meets one morning of the week at the church.

Viperidae Fri 19-Oct-12 08:14:42

I would hope they don't mean this too but, sadly, have experienced the same myself at our local church. I did stop going as I wouldn't tolerate that feeling of being left out, it was like the playground all over again and I did feel one person was behind it.

Unfortunately my friend, who I went to church with, left the area and I have never been organised enough to get properly involved anywhere else.

Feel for you, OP. So much for their 'Christian' spirit. Perhaps they feel that their place in Heaven is already assured, so they don't have to behave in a Christian manner while still on Earth. Hope you find what you're looking for, maybe with another church x

alemci Fri 19-Oct-12 15:42:32

It can be like that in church. I must admit my church (don't go anymore) felt exactly like that and I couldn't bear the cliqueiness of it. I still see the odd person from there but hardly anyone bothers to ring to see if I am ok. I found alot of them well off and most of the women didn't seem to have to work. It was a bit stuck in the '50's at times.

My dd's really like it there and attend but my ds didn't

you could perservere and get to know one or 2 individuals. could you form a prayer triplet away from the others for example

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