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So, You Want To Join A Church?

It is a well-known fact that more people used to go to church than they do now in the West at least - and it is another well-known fact that it tends to be th e older people who go to church, maybe because they would like to hedge their be ts before it gets too late. Well, now the Baby Boomers are becoming old, so does that mean that the Western religions will see a revitalization? It is also the case that people have got used to travelling away from their town of birth to find work, which has been made easier by a better road and rail net work, better public transport and cheaper cars, so lots of people might find the mselves in an area, where they have been for years, but where they do not know t raditional institutions like the churches. So what should someone do if they want to (re)kindle their religious custom at c hurch in a town where they do not know anything about the churches, their histor ies or their clergy? Well, the first and most self-evident question to answer is: which denomination do you believe in the most? Let's suppose you reply 'Catholic'; if there is no C atholic Church in the area, would you be happy to go to a Protestant Church - a Baptist or a Methodist Church? The same is the case with other religions, but I cannot state names with the same amount of assurance as when talking about Chri stianity. If you are uncertain, you are in a better place than lots of people, because you can go on a fact-finding tour without any preconceptions. So, if you do not kn ow which church or even which religion you favour, go to a different one each we ek. Sunday is not always the best day to go to a Christian church because it is the busiest day of the week, but you will see on the notice board outside or in the foyer which other days the church holds ceremonies on. If you are a white 'Christian' sort, do not feel that you may not go into church es of denominations from all over the world, but take a little time to do some r esearch first so that you do not flagrantly upset any customs or taboos. For instance, many religions prohibit the wearing of shoes in church and some de mand that the head be covered. Ask a friend to go with you if you are uncertain. People of all religions are glad to take visitors who are genuine in their sear ch for enlightenment. Language may be your largest stumbling block with religion s based abroad. If going into a church of an unfamiliar religion is too much, you could look on Google for on line forums that relate to the religion that you are interested in . That way, you are more likely to find knowledge in your own language too. Ther e are numerous English-language forums on Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and more. If you do go into an unknown church alone, sit towards the back but try not to s it yards and yards from the closest person or you will feel isolated. It is best to sit towards the back though because then you are not intruding and you can l eave if you are not comfortable. When the service is over, do not be in a hurry to leave. Just sit there quietly, reading through the hymn book. Give it ten minutes or so. By then, someone should have noticed that they have a stranger in their midst and someone ought to have come over to see how you are.

Some churches will even offer you tea or coffee, biscuits and a chat. This is yo ur chance to see how friendly the parishioners are. If no-one comes to you to in troduce themselves, I personally would not go back there. If no-one comes over to you, say hello to the person who held the service on the way out, but endeavour to be one of the last out so that they have the time to talk to you if they want to. Again, if they just shake your hand, mutter somethi ng about 'lovely to see you again' and move on to the next one, so would I - I w ould move onto the next church. Owen Jones, the writer of this article, writes on a number of topics, but is now involved with <a href="http://whatisreligiousbelief.com/religious-beliefs-in-ch ina.html">religious beliefs in China</a>. If you want to know more go to <a href ="http://whatisreligiousbelief.com">What is Religious Belief</a>?