Every Sunday my Mum would drag me to Church with her. We attended a Methodist Church in Edmonton, London England which was local to our home.
I remember always wondering why it was only me that was forced to go to Church with my Mum, and not my older brother or sister?!
Each week that we attended, Mum would send me into Sunday school.
I remember getting to a point where I didn’t mind going each and every Sunday, and I’m not sure if this was because I actually enjoyed Sunday school, making new friends, or if it was for the end of service where we were offered chocolate biscuits and tea (back then chocolate covered biscuits were my absolute favourite!)
At the age of nine, my Mum and I had suddenly stopped attending Church. Until this day I’m not exactly sure what happened, but without even ever asking her, I think I may have a certain level of understanding as to why. This is due to my own experience.
I always tried to live a Christian life, being kind to all people, having respect, not swearing, the list can go on and on! But as I grew older, people would always ask me if I were a Christian, I’d respond saying yes, but in my heart, I felt like a hypocrite and that I couldn’t call myself one as I wasn’t practising. After a time, this began to really bother me.
After a rough year in 2008, I realized I needed God more than ever, I began to think about Church a lot, and really wanted to find one to attend.
My brother’s then-girlfriend (now wife) was a long-standing member of a Church, and as she knew my interest in finding one, she had invited me to go along with her to hers. I was elated that I had a great recommendation, and that we would be able to attend together, and that I wouldn’t have to go solo. Back then that was my issue, I wanted someone to go with, someone to hold my hand and settle me in, almost like it was my first day of school!
It was the tail end of 2008, and my brother’s partner took me to her Church in Ealing, West London. This wasn’t far from the University I use to attend, so to me, this seemed perfect and somewhat familiar territory for me.
We parked up and proceeded to walk into a hotel where Church took place. My sister in love introduced me to all her Church buddies, they all seemed so friendly, young, and very hospitable, I was almost positive I had now found my new cool Church to attend!
In the first quarter of 2009, my sis in love no longer attended the Church, she never explained why, but I understood as my Mother had done the same thing many years ago, so I assumed it could sometimes be like that, plus she was pregnant with her, and my brothers first child, so I assumed she wanted them to make a fresh new start elsewhere with them as a family.
Despite me taking a short break within the first year of attending this new Church, I returned and had become so frequent that I had now become a full member. I’d even gotten baptized as a born again Christian on July 12th 2009, and had officially become part of the Church’s ‘family’.
Thing’s seemed great, I was finally leading this ‘perfect’ Christian life, attending Church, making new Church friends, going to life groups, serving in all areas possible, flooding my Facebook statuses with scripture, and saying Amen at the end of everything to really try and fit in, but the truth is, I struggled with this new great thing I was experiencing in my life.
Every Sunday was a struggle to go to Church. I grew to realize that the Church was full of cliques that had already been formed long before I began attending, and it seemed there was no new member’s allowed to join, and I definitely felt that no entry sign with each corner I took.
I would walk into the small Church hall with anxiety, not knowing which direction to go to. My fellow Church members had their own little circle, and sometimes wouldn’t even bother to acknowledge your presence too tough.
It bugged me a lot, but I still continued to go as I had to remind myself that I was going for me, and nobody else.
1 Corinthians 1:10 and James 2:1-13 kept me going every time I felt some type of way, it kept me going back week after week after week.
In 2014, after coming back from a 3-month trip abroad, I had the time, and space to reflect and think about things, and where my life was heading, I knew I no longer felt like part of the Church community and had to move on. It was something I had been grappling with for a while, but I knew I finally had to take the plunge and leave the Church that no longer served me and my purpose.
I did inform my pastor at the time, and he was not impressed, but I believe he could tell that it came from a genuine place and that I had tried to push through, but it had been a long time coming, and was not fair on me, my walk, and my fellow Church community.
After 4 and a half years, I saw a few former Church members as we all attended a Wedding of one of our fellow former Church members.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel because initially when I left the Church, I felt angry, hurt, and wondered why certain people at the Church treated me a certain way, and thanked God for saving me to not revert back to that girl prior to July 12th 2009 that would have told each one of these faux Church friends about themselves!
It was great seeing the few that happened to be there, I still felt a little vibe, and even had a long talk with one of the former members to see if she was able to somewhat shed some light on this situation, and she did! She said that I was seen as the quiet one and that she didn’t ‘hear’ anything else about me, my response to her is if people took the time to try and get to know me well enough, they would know that I am far from shy, I can chat for England, America and Canada put together, but nobody took the time out to ever try and get to know Roslyn. I knew loads about these people via talking and trying to get to genuinely know them, but I don’t even think they realized that they already had a nice friendship group set up, so this one girl coming from North London (where a majority of the congregation was from West London) didn’t really matter.
I’m not here to play victim, I am just speaking my truth. I’m thankful for the handful I saw, as some of them were always good to me, hence me being invited to the Wedding, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I greatly appreciate.
Since leaving the Church, I haven’t found a new one to attend. The good news is since leaving, my Faith has been tested, but has grown stronger. I’m still on the lookout and know that soon I will find a new Church to call home when the time is right. For now, I am living my life knowing that I am not perfect, and aiming to grow to be a better person as each day comes.