Goodbye (or au revoir) to the church
Today was the last time I’m expecting to be in church for a while. I’m taking some time away to see if it helps to get my thoughts in order, or whether I can find better ways to spend my Sunday mornings than sitting passively through a lot of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything to me.
It seems like a big step – a relief in some ways, but also a painful separation that almost feels like a bereavement. For what seems like an age, I was happy enough to mark time in the pews, letting it all wash over me, but since the CofE’s statement on the same-sex marriage consultation, I’ve felt sufficiently alienated from the church hierarchy that I just can’t comfortably remain where I am. More on that later, I’m sure.
Despite feeling distant from the church for some time, it’s hard to overcome the inertia, especially when my wife, children and extended family (or at least the problem of how to tell them) provided reasons to stay put. On the other hand, it’s easy to take the simple option and avoid any upheaval. I can’t imagine how long I might have sat tight without the CofE’s statement forcing my hand.
Speaking to my vicar, a decent chap who I like a lot, was hard, and talking to my wife about it was harder. I can’t blame her for wanting things to stay the way they were when we first knew each other and when we were married. In a way, I’d like the same, but I can’t fake belief even if I wanted to. Clearly, I’m the one who’s changed, but I’m touched and reassured that she’s been so understanding and accepting of my position.
It’s possible that over time I’ll get over it and drift back towards the church. On the other hand, this might turn out to be a permanent break. That uncertainty makes it easier to make and explain the decision, but it also makes it harder to process. I’m stepping away for now, with all that entails, but on the understanding that one day (be it in a week, a year or a lifetime) I might be ready to return.
Whatever happens from here, I think this marks a new chapter in my life.
Photo by polmuadi, used under Attribution License