Mark had to get up extra early for work this morning, so I got up with him. At the last minute I decided to change the order of the churches I still want to visit, and it’s a good thing I did. This morning I drove nearly 50 miles to attend a Mennonite church in San Francisco. As it turns out, if I’d waited till next week, I would have gotten to that address and they wouldn’t have been there! They’re meeting in a park next week.
The church is in the northern part of San Francisco kind of in the area where all the touristy things to see are. The building they use is actually a synagogue the rest of the week. There was a 2-lane street (each way) and parking strips and center dividers in front of the church. Not only were the parking strips full, so was the center lane. The center dividers were interrupted every so often as if a person could make a U-turn there, and in those places people were parking as though it was a parking lot. I finally parked there too!
There is an old mission across the street from the synagogue/church and the neighborhood is full of painted ladies. It’s a really pretty area. Once inside the building I climbed four flights of stairs to get to the sanctuary. The room was large and somewhat spare save for the painted windows at the front depicting the Torah and with Hebrew words and pictures also decorating them. But what I loved the most was walking in to the sound of music. That’s something you don’t get in an unprogrammed Friends meeting! They were singing “Rain down” and doing a beautiful job of it. At other times they also sang in four part harmony with no accompaniment, something I’ve missed from the Mennonite church I attended in Portland.
Apparently their regular pastor has spent the last year on sabbatical, and they had an interim minister. This morning was his last Sunday there before taking a pastorate in Boise, ID, so he preached on the passage in John when a lot of Jesus’ followers left Him, and He asked his disciples if they’d leave too. Peter said, “Where would we go? You have the words of truth.” (My paraphrase) The preacher talked about how he has grown in the last year, from someone who was often disappointed with God to someone who has seen the good things God does through the people in this church.
Toward the end of the service they had a time for visitors to stand and introduce themselves, so I did. As a result, someone from the Caring Committee came over and asked me where I live and started introducing me to people who also live south of SF. There is one couple that everyone mentioned who also live on Skyline Blvd, but they weren’t there this morning. One person took my e-mail address and said he’d send me some information. Another gave me her e-mail address and asked me to send her an e-mail, which I did when I got home.
I told Mark that each church I’ve been to so far, I’ve thought would be the one I’d end up at. Every single one of them have been great about welcoming me and matching me up with other people in their congregation. So much about the Mennonite church felt familiar this morning, but they meet early in the morning 50 miles away. If I end up there, it would be nice if I could find someone to carpool with. I was having a hard time staying awake while I was driving! I’m going to try another church next week, but at some point I’d like to come back to this one and hear the regular minister preach. She’s a woman. 🙂 One thing I’ve considered about the unprogrammed meetings I’ve been to is that there will probably be no Christmas Eve service, and no Christmas music. That’s hard for a music lover like me. I just wish the perfect place for me was closer to home, or later in the morning.