Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comfort Food.

I have only been in Ann Arbor for a short time, so I am just starting to learn my way around and meet a few people. While I have avoided homesickness, I still enjoyed going home last weekend and going to my own Church and having dinner with my family. This past week has been a little more hectic than most as I get settled in all my classes and start to figure out exactly what will be required of me, who I need to talk to for help, which students will be in my project groups, and so on and so forth. My roommate decided to head home for the weekend to spend some time with his fiance (fair enough) but I decided to stick around and maybe get some things done (which I have absolutely failed at so far...).

Yesterday was a blast, even though my head cold was still nagging me, due to the thrilling Michigan win over Notre Dame. The phone calls and texts I received during and after the game were fantastic. I have never heard my Grandpa so out of breath in my life, and he told me he was strong and refrained from turning off the TV in disgust after Notre Dame's go-ahead touchdown with a few minutes left! It will always be those little things that make me feel connected to home even though technically I am "away" from it. Much like a home-cooked meal, those moments snap me right back to Cutlerville.

My other "comfort food" moment came during Church this morning. I attended the Campus Chapel with a couple of friends, and it was amazing to me how similar services can be regardless of where they are held. The Campus Chapel is a reformed ministry right near the university's central campus, and the pastor is a graduate of both Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. This means that all of the nuances of a CRC service remained intact, regardless of the fact that the building is much smaller, the congregation almost entirely consists of students, and it is located in a city that is completely different from Grand Rapids. (Ann Arbor is like one gigantic Eastown.) I felt entirely comfortable as I recognized the following service elements:
  • A bulletin, complete with asterisks indicating to the congregation when they will be expected to stand
  • A slightly awkward pause as the liturgist decided unilaterally that one asterisk had been neglected and the congregation suddenly had to decide whether to trust him or the bulletin
  • Singing that starts incredibly soft as the congregation feels out the room and gauges what the final, "acceptable" volume will be.
  • And many more
Each of these aspects of a CRCish church service are relatively inconsequential, and I cannot say whether they are good or bad, they just are. They are the quirks that make me feel at home.

I look forward to checking out at least one or two more churches in the area to see which ones fit with the worship and preaching style I find most engaging, but I know that if I ever need to feel completely comfortable, there is at least one church that can accomodate me. (I have heard that Ann Arbor CRC may be even MORE similar to my home church, but we shall see about that.)

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