I was raised in a begnign, middle-class Baptist church, and generally, because of my parent's low level of involvement in the church, I never saw the operational side of Baptism. I went primarily to Sunday school, and did youth group stuff, but seldom went to actual Sunday services and had no clue about how the church was run. It was only in the last 10 years did I really start to get a handle on how Baptists differ from Methodists, Presbyterian and Catholics. Baptists seem unique in that they have a bottom-up governance system. That is, each church is entitled to establish their own beliefs. There are lots of conservative Baptist churches out there that adhere closely to the Southern Baptist guidelines. But not every Baptist church does. Thanks to Kris (my lovely ex-wife) and Jim, we found one that very happily doesn't.
Watts Street Baptist Church is that place. They've got a great community of folks who are very accepting, and open to discussions about (literally!) everything, even when your views don't necessarily match those of the majority. The music program rocks, with everything from great sacred music to spirituals to more contemporary pieces. The outreach opportunities range from intra-church to neighborhood, city, national and international. Ways to get involved are too numerous to list. Kids opportunity abound. The congregation is warm and accepting and made us feel instantly at home. It's gay and lesbian friendly in a way that I didn't think was possible for a Baptist church. Wednesday-night suppers are a great chance to eat and socialize with folks on a more casual basis that you typically see them on Sundays, with some great program times afterwards. Lifting a quote from their home page:
Watts Street Baptist Church is an inclusive ecumenical congregation uniting prayer, learning, and social justice in the context of a vibrant community.That sums them up perfectly. It's great to be home.
(Coming soon, I'll cover the passionate, democratic process that was our first congrational meeting.)
Tags: religion, Baptists