Church for non believer(18 Posts)
Hi I'm hoping I can get some advice from church goers. What is your opinion of this and what would you think if I came to your church?
I've just moved to a new area. It has a lovely community spirit, is in the countryside and I generally feel a lot happier here. It's just me and my 2 year old daughter, we don't know anybody else yet.
We've been out for a walk and play in the park today and I had a real urge to join a congregation I saw heading into the main church here. I'm pretty sure I'm a bit lonely and I want to belong to a group and meet people. But I don't believe in God! So why I feel like going to church I'm not sure. Obviously I wouldn't go in and say "I'm here but I don't believe!" I would keep my thoughts to myself but would it be disrespectful to attend? I've been thinking about it for a few weeks and have looked around a few churches when the services aren't on. It feels nice to be inside them.
So I suppose I'm asking if this would be ok? Or do I need to find something else for me and my daughter?
Lots of people find that there is a bit of a desire to go along even though they don't think they have a faith once they have children. It's how we ended up at Church 😊. Go, you will be welcomed and accepted, see what it can do for you. Good luck.
Do you live in or near London? If so I highly recommend New Unity, based in Stoke Newington / Islington. They are quite something -- essentially, a church where you don't have to be religious, but with a lot of the really wonderful aspects. Do Google and find out more.
Our church would welcome you with open arms. We have all sorts of groups running all week that are open to anyone regardless of their beliefs. Does the church you're interested in have a toddler group? That might be a good place to start.
And also yes, it would be OK anyway. You'll be in good company, and welcome. I attend church fairly regularly now and wouldn't say I am a believer but I do feel welcome and part of the community and it gives me a lot of pleasure.
To be honest, I go through loads of long periods of time (years) not believing in God.
Thank you for the encouragement. It's good to hear it sounds like a fairly normal route in! I suppose I wondered whether people have been going since they were children and are from religious families. I have no religious people in my life and was raised as an atheist.
Unfortunately I'm nowhere near London but thank you for the suggestion nonetheless.
Thank you for all the replies! I haven't looked at other things the churches run so I will look at that. I've tried a toddler group in the past though and not enjoyed it. It was very cliquey which would be fine if it was just me getting excluded but it broke my heart to see them encourage their children not to play with my 1 year old daughter.
Doesn't matter at all! There isn't an entry test. I don't know what I believe really but go along anyway (intermittently). I enjoy the ritual, the music and the quiet reflection. I also love the feel of old churches, especially small village churches I actually was brought up religious so do feel comfortable in a church (different denomination however). If you feel awkward introduce yourself to the priest at the end of the service.
Of course you should be welcome. You do not need to have faith to attend.
Oh that makes me feel so sad reading aboit excluding your little one. Totally the opposite of what church n christianity is about. There is such a huge variety of churches and services and stuff its worth trying a few to see whats the best fit for you. A lot do messy church or family service where its really kid friendly. Enjoy
Thanks littlepea. I went on the website for what seems to be the main church where we are (in the town centre and huge!). Messy church was mentioned. I may go and see next week. There are an awful lot of churches around here - it's a town but has evolved from lots of little villages joining together I think.
I think a lot of people find it's helpful to have an hour of quiet time once a week, plus a sermon where someone reflects on how we live. I took a friend to a service (non-believer, Jewish by heritage but never practiced) just the other day and she actually really took a lot from the sermon and has referred to it since.
The only thing to do, if it's a Communion service where people come up to the altar to take the blessed bread and wine, is not to take the bread and wine yourself. You can go up for a blessing if you like (just keep your hands folded when you kneel at the altar) or simply stay sitting down when others get up and go to the altar.
I started going to church as an adult with my 3 DSs, aged 3,2 & newborn, for much the same reason and I have never, ever regretted it.
When I moved to my current rural location 10 years ago, I found a local church of the same denomination and, looking back, it was the main thing that helped me get to know people and make friends in the community. Our communion is different to Travelling Fleet's though. In our church you would just let the bread basket & cups of wine go past when they are offered to you during a monthly communion service.
New Unity are a Unitarian church, there are others like them (plus the Quakers) if you say where you are I can try and think who might be nearest. At its best, it can be church without god(s).
No, you would not be disrespectful. You should be welcomed. Everyone in any congregation is a different place and there are plenty of people who do not believe.
The Christian view is that anything bringing people to church is good.
Do be aware though that it will be "you don't believe - yet."
It's fine. Just go with an open mind and take part in as little or as much as you like.
If you want an idea of what to expect, you could google Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper and see if it has reports on your local churches.
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