White Girl in a Black Church

by mathhbratt

My most recent adventure was unplanned and quite unexpected. I had planned on visiting a different church in our area. I have been wanting to find something small and not so full of people I work with. I found one that I wanted to go visit and talked my hubby into going with me. What I didn’t know until we got there is that we’d be two of the only three “white people” there. I never really thought of my self as a white person before, but this experience caused me to come face to face with my “whiteness.”

I’ve seen “black” churches on movies and tv shows and have always wanted to go to one. The worship seems so much more emphatic and real. The enthusiasm seems infectious. It isn’t stuffy and stiff like some of the “white” churches I’ve been to. I put it on my bucket list to someday visit an all black church, but I had yet to actively seek one out.

I have to say that walking in, I could not help but notice that we were the only white folk. I felt very self conscious about it at first (never mind that everyone there was dressed super nice, and my husband was wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants). Thankfully, everyone there was so warm and welcoming. There were smiles and handshakes everywhere we turned. The children stared at us.

I’ve visited churches for the first time many times before. It is always a self conscious experience. And, in the smaller churches like this one, children will sometimes stare, wondering who the new people are. This was like that times ten! That is, until the worship started.

Oh my word! This was the most amazing worship service I have ever been part of! No matter how nervous or self conscious I was about being a visitor, I couldn’t help but become enveloped by the infectious, emphatic worship of this group. All of the silly stuff that was battling in my mind melted away, and it was all about worshiping God with other like-minded people. It was nothing short of awesome.

There was a “greeting” song that I really found interesting. During this song, people were encouraged to greet each other. This one old guy, Alfred, Danced the aisles with a shuffle in his feet and a giant smile on his face as he made his way to greet everybody. Some others danced, some walked, others were like us and waited near their seats for others to come to them. Not one person did not have a giant smile on his or her face. While I felt a little like an observer in this portion of the service, I enjoyed it very much.

Once we got to the sermon, I felt very much at home. Alfred and an elderly woman whom I am presuming was maybe Alfred’s wife sat behind us. Whenever the pastor began to quote scripture, Alfred was right there behind us finishing the verses out loud from memory. That really added a lot to the experience of the message for me. I could not help but notice how close attention my husband was paying to the message and how the giant smile never left his face the entire time we were there.

After the service, people were very friendly to us. It was like we had been going there all along.  I am looking forward to future visits and considering whether or not this is where we will make our church home. (That last decision will be based on factors that have nothing to do with things I’ve mentioned above and more to do with theology and stuff of that nature.) In the meantime, I get to scratch something off of my bucket list, and I am excited to get to know some new friends. 🙂

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