my church journey - background

On the accompanying "My Church Journey" pages, you will find clips of posts I wrote as I sought Father's leading in relation to understanding His church, and my part in it.
But, to start, a short backgrounder....

I was born into a Christian home, basically evangelical in outlook.  Before I was 2 weeks old, I had been christened (baptized) in the Free Methodist Church my parents had been married in (and which my maternal grandparents attended.  My grandparents had been Holiness Movement ministers in the past.  My paternal grandfather was Anglican as he had attended Church of England before emigrating to Canada, while my grandmother attended a Dutch Reformed Church, and they sent my dad to a Nazarene Sunday School until he was 12 years old).

Our family lived in a small community for the next 2 years, where we attended the Anglican Church (the only Protestant church in the community).  From there we moved for 3 years to another small community, where we attended the Alliance Church, the only "evangelical" church there.  Then we moved to a somewhat larger community, known for "having a church on every corner" (well, not quite, but there were a lot of churches of many varieties).  We attended the Free Methodist Church in the community for a few years, then a much smaller Free Methodist Church in another nearby community (as it was struggling, and my parents wanted to help out).  When that church ended up closing, we returned to the other FM Church, while holding a Sunday School in our own neighborhood.  During these years we also attended many FM Family and Children's Bible Camps.

When I was about 10 years of age, one of the Billy Graham crusade associate preachers came to our community and held a crusade.  A cousin of mine had "gone forward" in a Billy Graham Crusade a few months earlier, and I had seen the booklet-course he received, and wanted one of those myself.  So I went forward at this crusade, and though I was "serious" about it, I really didn't understand what it was all about.

When I was 13, I "went forward" at a FM Family Bible Camp, very serious about it.  I wanted to be baptized, as my friends were being baptized, but my mother told me I could not be, since I'd been baptized as an infant.  I was supposed to go through confirmation classes, but by the time I was old enough, the FM church had switched to believers baptism, so I was caught in a kind of no-man's-land!  My "going forward" at this age didn't last long, as I quickly found I wasn't perfect, and was quickly discouraged by the strong emphasis on "backsliding" in our church.

As I reached my mid-teens, there were no teens in the FM church, so my parents allowed my brother to attend a Mennonite Brethren church with a large youth group, while I attended a Faith Gospel church.  At school, I attended the Inter School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) club, mainly because my dad was sponsor, and I had no choice.  When I was about 16 or 17, there was a "Sutera Twins" crusade, and I again "went forward" but when shortly thereafter I "sassed" my mother (though I did not mean to, or think that I did), and my dad was angry and said, "I thought you were a Christian!"  I was really hurt, and started to turn from the church.  I lived a pretty "rebellious" lifestyle for some time.  I also married, but it was a disaster from the start, and ended in divorce.

When I moved away to go to university, I attended a Nazarene Church, and really wanted to be a Christian.  My first teaching job took me back to the community I first lived in, and I attended the Anglican Church again, although I went more and more sporadically, and became quite heavily involved in a partying lifestyle.  After my new boyfriend and I had a baby, he insisted I take our daughter to the small local Pentecostal (PAOC) church which had a largely native American congregation.  It was there that once more I "went forward" and was baptized as soon as the lake was warm enough!  Along with the responsibility of being a mother, this very public baptism, in front of about 200 of my old partying friends, became an anchor that kept me following Jesus.

My boyfriend and I married, and over the next 8 years had 4 more children.  During this time, we attended the Pentecostal church, then moved far north to another small community, where we attended another (non-denominational) Pentecostal church, and where my husband became a Christian and was baptized.  We moved back to our home town, where we continued to attend the Pentecostal Church (PAOC) there.  Then my husband felt called to go to a PAOC Bible College, and while there we attended a PAOC church as well.  Back to our hometown, we attended the PAOC, but it closed down, so we went to the Anglican church on the native reserve, where we also attended "Church Army" house church mid-week services.

When our kids became teenagers, we moved to a somewhat larger community.  Our kids wanted to attend different churches, so I ended up attending church 3 times every Sunday - Mennonite Brethren, Anglican (a very evangelical one), and Pentecostal (PAOC).  Then we moved to a larger community, where we attended a Canadian Southern Baptist church - a big change!  It was also where I was introduced to the idea of "life groups."  Between these small groups, and my reading of the Bible, I was becoming more and more convinced that the church of the New Testament was a lot different than the many different kinds of churches I'd been exposed to over the years (I had also become very familiar, through friends and relatives, with the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, Brethren, and many other denominations, not to mention "cults" including JW, Bahai, and Mormon).

After about 6 or 7 years in the Baptist Church, I also became involved in Another Chance street church (which you can learn more about by clicking on the page links at the top of this page).  In a lot of ways, it seemed closer to the New Testament church than the many different "traditional" churches I'd attended, though of course not exactly.  It also reminded me of the Church Army home church services I'd attended years earlier,  and the life group I'd attended - and so I started to explore more and more what scripture had to say about the church.

Also during this time, I read "The Shack" and suddenly understood how much God loves me, and also began to really understand being a Christian, and being  the church, as relationship with God and His family rather than membership and participation in an institution or formal system.  Finally, I felt that God was releasing me from "traditional church."  I have continued to be a part of the Another Chance street church gathering, and long to continue to  draw closer into relationship with God and His family, His body, the church of Jesus, under the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The clips on the accompanying "My Church Journey" pages, then, are from blog entries over the past several years, starting at the time when we switched from Pentecostal to Anglican (the Pentecostal closed down).  These clips trace my "church journey" since that time.