Page 4 - Moravian Messenger September 2018
P. 4

Church away from home
Moving is major. You may be moving away from home for the first time to go to university, or moving for the 5th time in six years to chase jobs or loved ones. Either way, moving city or moving to a new area may mean that you can no longer make it to your normal home church regularly any longer. Finding a new church can be as stressful as moving house and can fall to the bottom of the priority list amongst fresher's week or sorting out council tax. Yet finding a church where you feel at home and can grow in your faith can transform your experience in a new place.
So here are some top tips on finding a new church in a new area from someone who moved from Fairfield to York for university four years ago and has just, a matter of weeks ago, moved to Edinburgh.
Church doesn't only happen on a
Sunday Morning
Getting up to go to church on a Sunday morning for an 11am service is always a challenge. Well, when you're the only one in your house doing it after what has normally been a social Saturday night - it gets much harder. This can leave you thinking that either church doesn't fit into your new lifestyle away from home or that you have to sacrifice something else in order that you're bright-eyed singing hymns by 11:10am. But fear not, there is church outside of Sunday mornings. Lots of student churches do evening services at 6pm that are designed for young people aged 18-30 which may even involve a trip to the pub afterwards. Churches sometimes do mid-week services as well which may fit in better around your schedule. There are many different forms of church as well: prayer meetings and small groups can also be a great way to touch base with the Big Man during the week.
Don't be put off by labels
If someone had told me that during my three years at university I would have worshipped in a super church of 1,000 members,
I'd have laughed you out of the room. Yet my time at the super church was challenging, inspiring and faith transforming - but I would never have walked into the service if I'd have known what 'label' the church belonged to. It just wasn't me. Churches belong to lots of different labels, denominations or groups and with each one comes a stereotype: 'happy clappy' or 'boring' to name a couple. Moving away from home is the chance to establish and grow your faith but it is equally the chance to be challenged. Due to the number of Moravian churches, it is unlikely that when moving away from home you'll be round the corner from one of our churches. This doesn't need to scare you off though from not going to church at all. Try churches that are different denominations and styles and see what they feel like - do you feel comfortable there? Are the people nice? Was the sermon and worship good? Do the teachings fit with what you believe? Judge the church from how you feel when you're there rather than the name on the door.
Wear your faith on your sleeve
I discovered my church in York when one of my new housemates noticed I had a bracelet on with a cross during a trip to get ice cream to eat whilst we watched Bake Off. True story. That little cross prompted us to discover that we were both Christians - something that had otherwise not come up during a week of nights out and kitchen chats - and she had mentioned that a friend of a friend back home had recommended a church to her. We decided to go and worshipped there together for over three years.
You meet so many people when you move to university or a new city and, as sad as it sounds, any one of them could turn into a lifelong friend or a fellow church goer. Wearing crosses isn't something which is central to our faith or practice as Moravians and equally to wear some kind of religious symbol is very much in fashion right now. But you can often tell when someone is wearing a cross due to their faith - it is often smaller and may be on their wrist or on a necklace - rather than for a fashion statement. I am not saying you should wear an 'I'm a

   2   3   4   5   6