Has anyone heard of the community church cos I'm not very happy there really

(54 Posts)
sheepgomeep Fri 08-May-09 23:53:30

Ok this might be a bit rambly but I really need some advice.

last year I got lots of debt help from The Christians against Poverty (CAP), I'mn still with them now, they have been and still are fantastic. They stopped us from losing our home and fed us for a week as we were really really desperate, we had bailiffs calling to the door amongst other things.

The CAP affiliated themselves with a local church 'The Community Church' and after a chat with a few of the volunteers I decided to go to a sunday srevice there to see what is was all about.

I was brought CofE although my parents never went but my primary school was CofE and I used to love the assemblies, the prayers and the hymns, the vicar and the times we used to have services in the church I found very peaceful. God has always been a part of my life, although not in an organised way iyswim which is why I felt the time was right last year to pick up my faith.

Iv found the whole experience very uncomfortable from the word go. There are non traditional hymn singing in fact there are no hyms it all modern christian songs and its all very happy clapping and lots of people falling to thier knees and muttering in tongues (fine if it works for you, I'm not dispresecting it)

There is also no vicar or pastor. When I asked who did the sermons I was told that the church leaders did the sermons and I just got the impression that it was a free for all.

they are also very very pushy. Iv been to a couple of soaking and prayer meetings at one ladies house which I did quite like but I can't go that often due to work commitments. Since them Iv had a couple of the leaders ringing me up asking me why I can't go to church some sundays and when they would next expect me. One in particular asked if I could explain to asda (where I work) that I go church and could they change my shifts so I could go!!! My children arent at all easy with going either because the first time I took them they came out of sunday school creche thing brandishing something they'd made with the words 'you are forgiven' on the back that someone had written. My ds was quite upset because he thought he'd done something wrong.

I got prayed over well the lady called it prophesised and God wanted to speak to me through her and then she came out with this weird stuff about my past, my feelings etc. A lot of it was true but then she kept saying that if I dont dedicate my life to jesus NOW then God will withdraw from my life and the bad stuff will just start up again.

Is this true, can someone enlighten me? because this experience threw me completely (as I think it was designed to do) I ended being pushed into making a commitment that didn't feel right and then 2 days later (today) I got a card in the post from the church from the asda fella saying we are so glad you have become a born again christian and do I want to get baptised on sunday!!

I do believe, but I want to do it in my own time, Iv got a bible that I do read and find comfort from but I feel so lost and this church isn't helping me.

I do feel obligated to stay with this church because of thier heavy involvement with CAP and my CAP debt councillor is one of the leaders and many people have been very nice 1 has become a good friend but argggg what do I do.

I live in North Wales so no chance of a CofE church and I know nothing about church of wales.

Thanks

someone please reply.

Donk Fri 08-May-09 23:57:58

Not real help I'm afraid
Church of Wales is Presbyterian.
The Church In Wales is the name for the Anglican church (I believe).
There must be Methodists about somewhere (seemed quite strong when I was in N. Wales) and lots of non-conformist chapels...

Twims Fri 08-May-09 23:59:36

I don't want to read and run - but I would cut your ties from this church because 1, you don't feel comfortable 2, your children don't feel comfortable and 3, it all sounds a little strange. God is there for everyone - you don't have to be in a church to believe or pray so take a step back and maybe talk to some of the people from the old congregation and see if they are attending else where.

sounds like a blooming cult to me.

if you feel uncomfortable, just stop all contact. im very wary of groups like this that actively recruit members, you ashould be able to pop in and out of church at your leisure

hopefully someone more knowledgable will come along soon

solidgoldSneezeLikeApig Sat 09-May-09 00:06:06

I would in general be a bit concerned about a charity that demanded this level of involvement in a religious group in return for its assistance.

BitOfFun Sat 09-May-09 00:08:05

I had never heard of them until today, oddly, when we drove past one in Southport! I would back off tbh, it sounds like the debt advice is part of a hook designed to make you feel beholden...it's basic marketing: that's why companies spend the money including free pens in their marketing literature, or offer a free gift for enquiring about their insurance etc- they know that psychologically it makes people feel like they ought to reciprocate, so they make their money back...and then some. Don't feel guilty for stepping away- they are quite cynically trying to recruit through this same tactic, and it's not in your best interests. It feels rotten to think that you aren't living up to your honour, and they are playing on your conscience like this: they are the ones not being fair, not you! Give them a wide berth...

Yurtgirl Sat 09-May-09 00:09:54

Hi sheepgomeep

I am a seriously lapsed (loads of reasons that I wont go into!) christian

I dont know anything about the community church but it doesnt sound too great based on your post

This experience that you described "but then she kept saying that if I dont dedicate my life to jesus NOW then God will withdraw from my life and the bad stuff will just start up again"

is very worrying - completely unbiblical pressurising

God will never withdraw from your life.
She is trying to force you into becoming a christian - there are bible verses to make this point correctly - owing to my lapsedness they are beyond me right now

Revelations 3 verse 20 might be it - jesus knocks at the door asking to come into your life. It is your choice when and if you open that door.

Someone told me years ago, once God is holding your hand he never lets go, even if you do!

HTH - There are many on mumsnet that can help you much more, Ill bump this for you tommorrow

sheepgomeep Sat 09-May-09 00:18:28

hi thanks for replying. I also forgot to mention that CAP sent our family on a retreat to the jonas centre in yorkshire, They told me that CAP was paying for us to go and I was too go and enjoy ourselves

BUT when we got there we were told that we were expected to attend these meetings and eat communally. Dp is a total non believer and he put his foot down and needless to say we came home 2 days later.

This site was in the middle of no where no phone signal, 20 miles from a supermarket and we were so unhappy.

Yes I suppose it does sound a bit of a cult my mum is very concerned about it.

Yurtgirl Sat 09-May-09 00:22:07

I have just googled "community church" - a lot (all?) have a New Frontiers connection

I cant remember why this rings ominous bells in my brain though!

Everything I can find on tinterweb about New frontiers (and Terry Virgo its founder) is positive hmm

I am yet to find a church near me that suits me so I understand your problem - I wouldnt continue to go there though!

skramble Sat 09-May-09 00:26:28

I have experienced the whole born again thing and this sounds a little bit more home grwon and self expanded if you know what I mean, thats when it gets messy when people start to add lots of little bits of their own.

The basics of being born again as I was taught were that to be born again you had to ask god to come into your life, to seek forgiveness for all your past sins and basicly promise to make god the main manin your life. If you don't make this pledge and become 'born again' then you don't get into heaven. No threats of bad things happening to you. Once you are born again, if you commit any sin you will get into heaven but will have to answer for these sins.

That was how I got taught it by the born again peps of the Baptist church and by some independents who I don't know what church they affiliated themselves to but ran an outdoor centre for kids.

So no threats but no heaven grin.

But I am over all that now wink.

sheepgomeep Sat 09-May-09 00:31:30

bitoffun Iv only heard of the community church in wrexham and chester (its the wrexham one I go too), I wonder how many of these churches there actually are accross the country.

Yurtgirl thank you for your post, that bit about once God is holding your hand he never lets go even if you do- sort of reminds me about the footprints in the sand..

I did feel a lot of pressure from this lady and very put on the spot. I also find her quite scary (another reason why my kids hate church) is that she (amongst others) worship themselves into a frenzy and violently shake and vibrate (thats the only way to describe it) and it scares them a bit.

sheepgomeep Sat 09-May-09 00:39:04

I don't mind the idea of 'born again' asking God to come into my life though, I'm just uncomfortable about being pushed really

My brother is baptist but I find him hardgoing although I think that says far more about him than 'baptism' i think.

Apologies to anyone if you do belong to the community church though, I just feel very uncomfortable about it all

solidgoldSneezeLikeApig Sat 09-May-09 00:57:38

Ok they are loons. DOn't expose your DC to any more of this looning, it's upsetting for them and totally unnecessary. Have a chat with the CAB about your financial problems, there is no need to be blackmailed into spending time with a cult (and they do sound worryingly cult-like).

skramble Sat 09-May-09 00:58:15

It is something you choose to do when you are ready, you should not be pushe, they will keep pushing.

Born agains can be a bit over enthusiastic about it sometimes, but the whole set up seems a bit questionable.

I don't go to church now and I really don't worry about god all that much, I have my own faith in what I belive to be right and I have my morals, I don't need to be in a certain building once a week to know this and to be what I want to be. I am much more into mother nature these days I think. I saw too much emphathis on church being a building rather than the people and became disalusioned (sp?).

I did enjoy it at the time and made good freinds and had good times wit the Youth Fellowship, but I can get that from elsewhere now. And I have other things I can dedicate my time to as a volunteer.

blithedance Sat 09-May-09 01:07:03

I go to a church a bit like that (ie non-denominational and charismatic evangelical). "Community churches" are not one single organisation - they vary from ones affiliated to a big network like New Frontiers or Ichthus that I feel have a degree of accountability/leadership, to one-offs where it's down to the local leadership team. The wrexham set up seems to be somewhere in the middle - a few UK branches. One of the things I checked when we started going to New Frontiers was the leadership structure and how the leaders are trained and supported even if they don't have "Rev" in front of their name. But there is another community church near us that I didn't get at all a good vibe about... they all vary.

The place you went to seems way too pushy though. There is no a place for hassling people who don't attend regularly or veiled threats about making a commitment. We are very irregular at church due to DH's work and we have nothing but kindness and appreciation when we do show up. It's not right to feel under pressure - at best they are overenthusiastic and at worst they are pressuring someone a bit vulnerable. Don't feel obligated because of the debt counselling, if they are genuine they will be just as happy to see you worship somewhere else.

Not sure about the retreat- was it a church weekend away or on your own?

blithedance Sat 09-May-09 01:16:03

I would say don't throw the baby out with the bathwater too. Plenty of churches of all flavours have community projects as part of their ministry to the local area, in fact it's a good sign if they want to put something back rather than just meet on Sundays.

MaryBS Brazil Sat 09-May-09 09:16:02

Sheepgomeep (cool name btw), it doesn't really sound the right place for you at all! Don't feel obligated because of your CAP help, they should be helping you without any thought of reward, not so they can "convert" you.

There is a New Frontiers church in Cambridge, I visited them last year. The worship sounds very similar, but the message they preached was a lot more Christ-like, there was no guilt-tripping which is what you seem to be getting.

If you are comfortable with the CofE, perhaps give the Church in Wales a chance. If you like, I can make enquiries in your area, as I "know" a couple of priests in the CinW on another board I'm on, they may be able to suggest a more traditional place in which you feel comfortable.

sheepgomeep Sat 09-May-09 10:00:01

Well the retreat away was called a 'discovery break' which was supposed to be a chance for me in particular to explore chritianity.
Which was fine but dp didn't want to take part at all, fair enough it was his choice.

I was told that the centre had a well equipped shop, that there a brilliant childrens adventure playground and there would be loads to do. Also a proper creche in which to leave the dc, the baby one was a ring of chairs pushed together which dd2 kept escaping from hence dp putting his foot down about leaving her there. No shop and a dilapidated play area totally unsuitable for younger children ie downright dangerous.

The log cabins were lovely though, really really nice and homely and the countryside was amazing.

I looked at the website and the centre is not only for christians its also a place for diadvantaged families to stay too, we were encouraged not to leave the site although we did, found it very claustrophobic not too, the site was on a slope and unsuitable for pushchairs, steep slippery steps etc.

Anyway I'm rambling.

MaryBs if you could make enquiries about local church of Wales churches that would be great. Thank you.

justaboutspringtime Sat 09-May-09 10:05:37

Just to concur with what everyone else has said - it doesn't sound like a "cult" exactly but the pressure isn't good. Going to church should be a choice, and it should be a place where you feel comfortable/at home/ and where you feel able to talk to God. There are many different kinds of churches including very responsible Pentecostal ones: this doesn't sound like that.

As for the charismatic stuff, different things suit different people, but I would be wary of anyone who said if you don't follow Jesus bad things will happen to you.

puffling Sat 09-May-09 11:38:48

Are you able to talk to your CAP friend and explain that you're not comfortable with that type of church service. Perhaps they could point you towards another church. In honesty though, I think they would be likely to make you feel that you should continue at their church. And that would not in itself be a very christian attitude.
Christians often say 'What would Jesus do?' Well i think Jesus would have helped you and expected nothing in return.
I'm sure there are some lovely churches in North Wales, where you'd feel comfortable and supported.

puffling Sat 09-May-09 11:44:59

I just looked up the church of Wales and found there church locator: here
I don't know where you are but I randomly typed in Prestatyn to the locator and found this very nice sounding church:here

best wishes

MaryBS Brazil Tue 12-May-09 12:23:24

Hi sheepgomeep, sorry for not replying before, I thought of you when on "Flog it" the other day, they showed inside St Giles' church in Wrexham!

I've posted the query for you, I'll let you know what response I get. Have asked for something more traditional than happy clappy in the Wrexham area, that is child friendly. Hope that is OK!

I have just read your post as a fairly new mumsnetter & it raised a couple of points. Firstly i am a Christian ( since an Alpha course 6 yrs ago ) Previous to that i had Cof E upbringing at school. The church i attend now is a Lively Pentecostal church in North Wales! Where do you live??
Our church is just about to get involved in CAP & I have to say it is a marvellous organisation & you must remember just how much they have helped u out. There is nothing dodgy about it , they are outwardly ChristiAn & in fact won the Times small business of the yr last yr.
However, the church you are attending does sound pushy. I have been in the same place where i wanted a relationship with God but as soon as anyone started pushing me i would withdraw.
It would be an idea to contact the CAP church leader u are so friendly with & explain how u feel. If they have any sense if they do not want to lose u they will listen. I remember my 1st few months as anew christian when everything is a bit raw & i just had one 2 one mentoring for ages with a lady from our church. is this possible to answer questions etc
Regards the falling on floor, clapping etc, I've bin in the same place as u & it all seems kind of normal now (tho i've never fallen on the floor!! ) any help? sorry A BIT WAFFLEY ) i don't think its a bad church but whats right for some can be pushy for others. PS i am based in Caernarfon

I have just read your post as a fairly new mumsnetter & it raised a couple of points. Firstly i am a Christian ( since an Alpha course 6 yrs ago ) Previous to that i had Cof E upbringing at school. The church i attend now is a Lively Pentecostal church in North Wales! Where do you live??
Our church is just about to get involved in CAP & I have to say it is a marvellous organisation & you must remember just how much they have helped u out. There is nothing dodgy about it , they are outwardly ChristiAn & in fact won the Times small business of the yr last yr.
However, the church you are attending does sound pushy. I have been in the same place where i wanted a relationship with God but as soon as anyone started pushing me i would withdraw.
It would be an idea to contact the CAP church leader u are so friendly with & explain how u feel. If they have any sense if they do not want to lose u they will listen. I remember my 1st few months as anew christian when everything is a bit raw & i just had one 2 one mentoring for ages with a lady from our church. is this possible to answer questions etc
Regards the falling on floor, clapping etc, I've bin in the same place as u & it all seems kind of normal now (tho i've never fallen on the floor!! ) any help? sorry A BIT WAFFLEY ) i don't think its a bad church but whats right for some can be pushy for others. PS i am based in Caernarfon

sheepgomeep Tue 12-May-09 23:36:43

MaryBs thanks for getting back to me and thanks for posting that query for me. Hopefully you will get some replies back.

Lol about St Giles church on flog it, its a lovely place with a lovely feel to it inside, very peaceful even dp likes it which is amazing for someone who does not 'do' religion in the slightest and is almost phobic about it.

Catherineseoint hello, thanks for your post, it is nice to know that someone has had some similiar experiences and you are right about CAP its not CAP I really have the problem with as they have been great but many of the church leaders do work with CAP and I do feel awkward about my feelings about thier church especially when I had some lovely kind people from the congregation helping us at the very beginning of my families involvement with CAP.

CAP itself don't push you to do anything. You are asked at the beginning of thier involvement with you if you mind if they pray with or for you and if you dont then thats ok it your choice.

Its the church itself that I have the issue with. I really don't feel comfortable there. I hate being pushed before I'm ready

I'm in wrexham

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