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Faith Beyond the Church

Faith Beyond the Church

by Laura Schwarcz on June 04, 2024

Faith Beyond the Church

"God loves you. God forgives you. You are whole and accepted."
~ Traci Smith

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Pentecost, the day God created the church, breathing the life of the Spirit into the disciples, bringing the people together to celebrate and share the news of Christ. Through the Book of Acts we learn what they did in the early days of the Church: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.” (Acts 2:42-45) The people gathered in worship daily, but then lived out their faith around a simple meal together and celebrated being in a community of God’s love. Their spiritual practices - and their faith - didn’t start or stop when they walked through the doors of the church. In fact, their faith started in the gardens, was reinforced by the church, and lived out in their daily lives wherever they went.

This summer, we are inviting people of all ages to take their faith beyond the church’s doors in special ways. You can engage in spiritual practices through a Faith-at-Home calendar created by Rev. Traci Smith, a pastor, author, and director of Family Faith Every Day. This calendar gives us practical suggestions to help us understand that our faith doesn’t just happen at church, but can go with us on our summer travels and daily activities: on airplanes and cruise ships, in swimming pools and down waters slides, through meditations in our home gardens, and even in our workplaces. While the church is a place to reinforce these spiritual practices and join in community of worship, it is often through our daily lives with our children, our youth, our partners, and our pets that we are able to grow in discipleship. 
Wendy Claire Barrie, author, and Canon for Intergenerational Ministries at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, shares:

"At home is where a child’s faith is formed and [then it grows] in conjunction with the church. Many adults think that they can’t engage with children and youth around the Bible, teaching Sunday school, or talk about faith because they aren’t sure what they believe themselves or don’t know enough. [But] it’s about relationships. You don’t have to be an expert to have the conversation. It is through community, through all ages, that we learn to be disciples, by being intentional with each other. "

Where does your faith grow? What relationships have strengthened your faith? Like the Church in Acts 2, I wonder if your faith is shaped and practiced beyond where you expected. This summer, take faith practices of Mindful Mondays, I Wonder Wednesdays, and Service Saturdays into all places using the daily spiritual prompts of the Faith-at-Home calendar (download one of your own by clicking here).  I look forward to witnessing what God is doing in your lives, beyond the Church.

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