I Tried Church Again for the First Time in Years

Elizabeth Park
3 min readMay 15, 2022

and it went about as well as you’d expect

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-black-yellow-round-window-45975/

I spent over an hour “making my way downtown” last Sunday in London via train and the Tube and by foot to a church I had some previous experience with (visited it ten years ago).

I didn’t have my hopes SUPER high; but of all churches, I thought this one might have some love to give.

Why? Because when I was leaving fundamentalism, a church in Charlotte gave me a safe place to land, taught me that God actually is Love, and that we can hear his voice PERSONALLY.

That church was started as a clone of this London church.

And in Jacksonville, four hours from me, they had planted another clone. I used to drive up there and back several Sundays a year. Brutal. But I tried.

Anyway, I know Covid lockdowns have been disruptive to many congregations.

Also, as a preacher’s kid I have Much Experience in Church World. I’m not expecting perfection.

I was relieved and proud of myself for getting there with my little Oyster card and my backpack. EARLY.

There was a little tea/coffee/water/pastries area with a few people gathered around. YES. This is about hospitality.

I know the drill. I used to make the coffee, put out signs, and greet people at the Charlotte version of this church.

SOMEONE would speak to me. They HAD to.

They did not. I mean, the greeter at the door did, but it’s literally her job.

I had to maneuver around people talking to each other to get a pastry.

Kids were running around, absolutely precious little fresh-faced flowers.

I watched them for 30 minutes as I sat and ate my lonely pastry. Seriously good pastry, to be honest.

No one made eye contact. No one gave me a nod. No one spoke, or asked my name, or where I was from.

I take that back. One little girl hid behind the sofa and told me not to tell the others where she was. I did not tell them, but I did notice how thrilled she was when they came and found her.

Elizabeth Park

Life coach for the spiritually dehydrated, survivors of narcissistic abuse, and neurodivergent radicallifecoaching@gmail.com