In September, my church did a series on Why I Love My Church and it got me thinking about the different churches I have attended over the years as I have lived abroad. I thought it would be fun to do a post on some of my favourite memories from these churches where I’ve been a member.
My Church Journey
(In chronological order)
1/ The Salvation Army
This is the church where I grew up so it’s one with which I’m very familiar. I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit Salvation Army churches in Italy and Cuba so I was able to see what similarities and differences exist in other countries.
I was a member of the Timbrel Brigade and it was something I really enjoyed although it was painful on the fingers (masking tape was a must-have). We had a great team and a fantastic teacher though, so the practice times and harvests are memories I fondly remember despite the pain. I’ve posted a video of a Timbrel Drill below for those who may have no idea what it is 🙂
2/ Birmingham Christian Centre (BCC)- England
I attended this church during my first two years in university and it was quite the contrast from the church I previously attended. BCC was large compared to what I was used to, with two morning services of over 500 people in attendance at each. It was also very diverse so I was able to meet a wide variety of people.
I attended the New Year’s Eve party for 2007/2008 after a friend talked me into going and I’m so glad I did. It was a really great atmosphere, there were games, food and lots of going on. Just before midnight, we spent time in worship and a short meditation was shared before we counted down and ushered in 2008 worshipping God. I was able to enjoy the fireworks as well from the rooftop of the church.
3/ Church in Mexico
I attended a medium-sized Pentecostal style church in Mexico when I lived there. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the church and although I tried to research it, I’m not seeing anything that seems familiar. Given the amount of time that has passed though, it is possible that it has been re-named or relocated.
I really enjoyed worshipping God in Spanish as I found it was an interesting dynamic in another language. For example, I enjoy singing songs that I know first in English which have Spanish versions but songs that I have learnt and know in Spanish have a different impact for me which is special. I still remember some of those songs we sang then that I grew to love and occasionally still sing/hum from time to time.
4/ Hillsong Church Paris
I attended a small church when I lived in Grenoble, however, having become a fan of Hillsong United’s music after becoming a Christian, I was really excited to have the opportunity to be part of Hillsong Paris for the summer that I was there.
There were worship nights called A Touch of Heaven that I was blessed to attend and these certainly were aptly named as they were really powerful and moving experiences with fellow believers as we worshipped God. I must also mention that there was lots happening at the church all summer which provided plenty of opportunities to fellowship with other Christians and get involved in different events and ministries which I really enjoyed given that I was new to the city and I was only there for a short period.
5/ Hope City Birmingham
This was a new vibrant church plant (the 5th congregation) of Hope City Sheffield which began at the start of my final year of university. The dedication and commitment of the team were amazing to see each week as they travelled 2 hours each way to have service each week.
The friendliness and openness of team from the beginning definitely stood out as unique. I remember we usually spent quite a while after the service chatting or we would go out to eat and spend time together over a meal.
One of my favourite memories was being a new member of Hope City Brum (as we called it) and visiting Hope City Sheffield for a conference. We were given a tour of the Mega Centre and it was amazing to see how far this first congregation had come and how it had grown while being part of the then newest church plant. I was, therefore, in that moment simultaneously experiencing the new as part of the newest church plant while physically seeing the long term vision for the location. I found to be quite striking to experience both aspects as I had never been involved in a church from such early stages.
6/ Balfron Church of Scotland
At my job in Scotland, I usually worked on Sundays so I was not able to attend church very often. When I could though, the Church of Scotland in Balfron is where I would go. Given my very Pentecostal background, I was a little concerned about going to what I think of as a more Anglican style church. However, this church was quite relaxed compared to the Anglican churches I’d visited and I grew to enjoy the services.
Before service, they offered tea, coffee and biscuits each week so members would actually arrive early (eg 30m before the service started) so they could spend time catching up and chatting with others. This is how I really got to know the church members and they really made me feel welcome and part of the family although I was not able to attend often.
7/ Hope Church- Barbados
This is the church that I currently attend in Barbados. I’ve always found it interesting that God led me from one Hope church to another…
I’ve made great friends at Hope and I’m so blessed to have these people in my life. To date, the memory that currently stands out the most is my re-baptism earlier this year. I count it a blessing to have been surrounded by great friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.
I must also mention the Footwashing ceremony as that was something I had never seen or experienced before.
It’s been a fun journey thus far and I look forward to seeing how God continues to lead me in the future.
✞ Are You Really In?