Please help

(11 Posts)
StrawberryTeddybear Wed 08-Jan-14 07:07:33

Firstly let me apologise for my ignorance, I don't know as much about religion as I thought! This is long I'm afraid!

When growing up I was part of a Pentecostal Church community, literally from the age of around 4, up until about 14/15 before moving to another city. Our religion was a big part of our lives through Sunday schools, bible groups, conventions, trips away etc, being a kid I never really understood the ins and outs but knew as a whole that I was a Christian.

My secondary school was a Catholiic one, we had regular Mass, my school friends had Holy Communions, and we'd say prayers in assembly. It was clear to me that these two types of worship were very different. During the giving of the bread and water in Mass, I was always told to cross my arms across my chest and get a blessing instead of taking it as I was Christian not Catholic. Therefore I have always separated the two in my mind.

I haven't attended church for many many years and I've lost touch.

Fast forward to now. I've recently moved to a new area, have a baby boy and I'm keen to find a church to get involved with the community, meet new people and re-claim my faith.

Thanks for getting this far smile.

The local churches to me are C of E. I've been to a few and the service seems like those in my school (Catholic) although I don't actually know for sure I feel a bit silly asking someone in the church. Is it the same as RC or are these Christian Churches?

I'm yet to find a Pentecostal church local to me, are there similar styles of church? I'm debating whether I can be a part of another type of church, rather than have to travel far and wide to find this type.

How will I know if a church is Catholic or Christian? I was christened as a baby and so was my Dp so Christianity is has been part of our upbringing, but we both feel that we need to be re-educated to know which churches we can be part of in the new area.

Thanks for reading, sorry for all the questions!

HoneyandRum Wed 08-Jan-14 07:44:57

Hello Strawberry, to clarify (Roman) Catholics are Christian, in fact the Catholic church is the oldest Christian church tracing its roots back to the Apostles 2,000 years ago (alongside the Orthodox and other ancient churches such as the Copts). The Church of England broke away from the Catholic church in the 1500s and all Protestant denominations trace their history to the Reformation (late 1500s) and later.

The vast majority of Christians believe fundamentally the same things, there are a few differences however. In the Catholic church we have seven Sacraments including Holy Communion, which Catholics believe becomes the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus during the Mass. Orthodox and other ancient churches also believe this. Most Christians from Protestant denominations see Communion in a very different way, as something purely symbolic for example. For this reason, Christians who are from these Protestant derived denominations or churches do not receive Holy Communion in Catholic churches, although they are always very welcome to come forward for a blessing - which is what you used to do at your Catholic school.

People who are not Catholic are always welcome at Catholic Masses and to visit Catholic churches. It sounds like although you lived your faith you have not been well Catechised (taught) and need more understanding of the theology of your Pentecostal tradition.

Usually most local churches will have their own website and will have an explanation of what they believe on their web page. If you are ever confused about what an individual church or denomination believes I would suggest you approach a leader such as a pastor, priest or other pastoral leader and ask them to explain their community's beliefs to you.

StrawberryTeddybear Wed 08-Jan-14 20:41:54

Hi, thanks for taking the time to reply.

I have done some further research on the Pentecostal faith and what it means, I intend to look further into others too!

I certainly need to find a church where I feel comfortable and have a chat with vicar/pastor to confirm if it matches what we are looking for!

I actually get confused with the names of churches and what they mean, such as Methodist, apolistic, new Christian evangelical just to name a few!

I've found reading some of the threads on here helpful too.

Thanks again.

Gingerdodger Thu 09-Jan-14 06:52:16

Honey has very articulately explained that Catholics are Christian also so I won't repeat.

One of the strengths of the Christian faith is that it offers such a wide variety of forms of Christian worship based around a core set of beliefs. My best advice would be to try different churches until you find the one that works for you and your family, I personally feel that God will call you to the right one for you. Take time to explore the nuances of their form of Christian worship and how this is practised and understood by the ordinary practising churchgoer, which can be a bit different to some of the hard line church teachings or media perceptions. Most churches seem to offer some kind of programme for people who are interested in coming to church so these are probably well worth a go once you find somewhere that feels right. There are people of all denominations on here who, I am sure, would be happy to share information about their own branch of christanity.

StrawberryTeddybear Thu 09-Jan-14 12:51:49

Thank you ginger

Hi ST, don't know if this will help but this is my experience:

I was brought up in a church a bit like yours (Christadelphian) but left at 18 for a few years as I found it suffocating (very strict rules about dress, for example). Always missed going somewhere on a Sunday and all the other things that made it part of a community. A few years ago I went to a couple of C of E church services & found them unsatisfying. Went to a Baptist church but it was also not for me.

Eventually found a Chapel-type assembly in a small village that suits - Bible-based, simple service, nice people, sense of community. There are lots of these, known as Gospel Halls, across the West Country but I don't know if they are elsewhere.

Can I suggest, as a start, that you read the Bible. Perhaps you could find a Bible study group locally, and make friends & then attend some churches?

Where are you based?

springysofa Fri 10-Jan-14 20:01:42

I think you can speak to the vicar/pastor/priest/leader to find out what any particular church is about - a vicar/pastor etc! would expect you to approach them so you can make an informed choice.

If I'm going to be committed to a church, I want to know everything about them - who they have links with, where their money goes, what their policies are on women this and that.

Most churches have a website these days which contains all the above info, so you can gen up in the privacy of your home if you would prefer.

StrawberryTeddybear Sat 11-Jan-14 00:11:15

Thank you both.

miranda I'm based in east London. There are lots of C E churches local to me but not sure if they really fit my style. You are so right, I need to re-read my bible. I always enjoyed the Sunday school teaching as I understood it more than when the Pastor would read, I find it hard to understand the meaning behind some of the chapters, so its easier for me to digest when it's broken down. I guess bible groups will help with this?

springy thanks for the tip. I've actually managed to find a church near(ish) me that has a website, I've had a good nose and we're going to venture there this Sunday- wish me luck! I will update how we get on.

Thanks so much for replying, you are all very kind.

BackforGood Sat 11-Jan-14 00:22:46

CofE (Church of England) covers quite a broad range of worship styles too. Some are very 'high church - much more akin to Catholic style of worship, and some can be much more relaxed in their style.
It makes a lot of sense to go to each of your local churches a couple of times and see where you get the warmest welcome, or feel the most comfortable. If you have a child/children, then it makes sense to go where there are other young families, as, growing up there is likely to be more going on for children.

BackforGood Sat 11-Jan-14 00:24:54

I would actually disagree with Springy about 'most' churches having websites... some do, some don't, and those that have the best websites only reflect access to a good website designer. I wouldn't rule out a church because it hasn't caught up with too much technology yet. That said, many Churches do have websites and some are also venturing onto Facebook. smile

superbagpuss Thu 16-Jan-14 20:30:40

hi - as an idea some churches offer something called an alpha course, its for people who have questions about religion and church. they run for about ten weeks and its a chance to meet people at the church and people like you who have questions

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