My family grew up going to the big cathedral in our hometown of Columbia, SC. We had been there for generations. And, as lovely as it was, it was one of those churches where children were “shushed”, and families were to remain as quiet as possible.
So when we had our first daughter and were attending The Falls Church, we kept with the tradition that church was meant to be a serious, solemn place where everyone had quiet reflective experiences. Then, one Super Bowl Sunday as we were leaving, Julie broke out her organ into Lady Gaga (who was doing the big halftime show), and I realized this was not the same type of church! I started to notice the other families with small children, and how included they were in the services. Once, when I was lay reader, my then 3-year-old asked to come up with me. As we were walking, she ran straight into the Baptismal font, knocked her head, and of course, screamed the entire way through our reading. I even put the microphone down and just tried to project over her. At the end of it all, instead of stunned silence, the church erupted in applause as I ran off the altar to Children’s Chapel, where my daughter immediately started to laugh.
Should church be a reflective and solemn place? Yes. Absolutely, it has its place for that. However, I am so grateful to have found a place that I imagine reflects the life and sermons that Jesus led, where families were scattered, and children ran to Jesus and interrupted his talks. Or where King David played joyful music following the Tabernacle. I’d like to say they were all smiling as Julie played “Baby Shark” a few Sundays ago (another reason I think the Nationals won!).
We are so glad to have found a place that will help us raise our children to know and love God, in all of life and its craziness, that God created. My daughter knows that Sundays are church days, and while I’m not sure if she’s more excited to see her friends, or have “church snacks”, she knows that The Falls Church is a place that welcomes her and loves her. And I think that’s what The Falls Church stands for most of all. A place where we very take very seriously our sign out front that says “All Welcome.” And for us, that is why we are proud members of The Falls Church Episcopal.
~ Ellen Pinson