Everyday Spirituality: The Blog
Leaving the Church Building Behind | blog
My wife and I recently moved to Maine from New York. This forced us to leave the church building where we attended with our family, and were very active, for the past 21 years, and where I am a member for over 40 years. We had actually left the building 18 months earlier when it was forced to close due to the pandemic; but that was going to be temporary. This is permanent.
Our sanctuary is now nature; primarily the tidal pool that is our “backyard”, but also walks to the beach, strolls in the woods, and drives to witness the splendor of the fall colors. From our deck we can watch various birds, from hummingbirds to herons, seagulls to eagles. Each day brings the prospect of a glorious sunset (sunrise too if one is so inclined) that is often magnificent, rarely meh.
When there is enough water in the pool, we can kayak and swim. As the water recedes, the shorebirds begin to arrive. Among the various plovers and sandpipers, whimbrels and willets, my current favorites are the sanderlings. We see them in flocks of six to sixty wandering in the mud looking for food. They scurry along on their little legs faster than you would think possible, and then stop abruptly and thrust their beaks into the mud in the hopes of snagging a bit of food they saw? smelled? heard?
As I watch the sanderlings come in small groups to mingle with a larger flock for a while and leave in groups, or as one, when startled, I realize that, while we have a wonderful replacement for the church building, we miss the church community.
So, where to turn when the church building is no longer there for us? We need a different kind of church; one that is online, and yet gives us a sense of community; one that meets us where we are, and encourages creativity and justice in addition to spirituality. Linda and I were fortunate to be part of connect.faith from the early days. We knew many of the founders already, but over the past 2 years have come to know several of the contributors as well. Some we met in person, others we know through Zoom forums like Creativity Lab and book discussions.
If you feel like the doors of the Church are closed to you, for any reason, past or present, I encourage you to explore the connect.faith website. And, if anything speaks to you, to become part of our community. A spiritual community is vital to our wellbeing, and it doesn’t have to be housed in a building to be genuine.
Steve & Linda Berg
Recently, Steve and Linda Berg, moved from Pleasantville, NY to Biddeford, ME. Their new “backyard” is a tidal pool. They are sharing their thoughts as they adjust to their new surroundings, revel in nature, and find new communities.