Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Real Simple Way to Find a Church, Synagogue or Mosque

Denominational loyalty is no longer the first reason people choose a religious community.

People who feel the urge to connect to a church can shop around. The clergy expect that is what a newcomer is doing. People tend to choose the church near where they live. Try one out for a few Sundays or Saturdays. See if you feel welcomed in the service and refreshment time afterward. If not, move around and try another one.

Some people want a church with clear rules of behavior and belief. Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Southern Baptists offer those aspects of religion.

Others love smells, bells, music and sacraments but are more flexible about beliefs and ethical standards. Episcopal and Lutheran churches fill that bill.

Presbyterians, Unitarians and Methodists are good resources for those who want simple worship and excellent preaching.

Some love the silence of a Quaker Meeting. Others enjoy elaborate liturgy and music in a foreign tongue. The Greek, Russian and Armenian Orthodox churches offer such ways of worship.

Jews want their children educated in Hebrew language and traditions and presented for bar or bat Mitzvah. Shop around for a synagogue that feels right for you and your family.

The Orthodox Jews have firm beliefs, traditions, rules and laws which make adherents live an enjoyable life. Worship is in Hebrew. Sermons and teaching are in the language of the people.

Conservative congregations present modified Jewish teachings and traditions and use a lot of Hebrew in the worship.

Reformed Jews use English. They make the ancient Jewish traditions relevant to modern life.

Independent Jewish groups using ancient and modern musical instruments and songs are visible. Counter culture groups attract young people and Jews willing to connect to contemporary life. Potluck suppers, children’s services and groups for singles, the divorced, alcoholics and the just plain lonely are available.

People of Islam will find mosques and Islamic Centers in major cities and many communities. Visiting, looking at web sites and telephone calls to them will bring welcoming responses and information.

People want to join a religious institution seeking a community of faith. Searchers have many options to try new things, places, traditions and practices.

Try some out, trust your own values and resources and be willing to learn.

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