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Scared of church

(19 Posts)
SallyB392 Sun 27-Oct-19 09:08:16

For most of my life I attended and found solace in church, and found prayer to be an important part of my life. But in 2013 I had a complete breakdown, and have been unable to attend church since. Even prayer has no meaning.

My one attempt had me break down into an emotional mess, and the fear of the same thing happening has held me back.

I'm beginning to feel drawn back to church now but that fear of breaking down again is so real, I don't know any members of the local congregation, or the vicar which makes it hard. My husband has agreed to accompany me (he is a non believer), but something is still holding me back.

Has anyone else experienced similar, and how do you make that first step?

Anniebach Sun 27-Oct-19 09:24:56

Have you been into an empty church ? Just walk around, sit a little while if you want to , choose a short prayer , The Jesus Prayer’, is just one line ,

Give yourself time x

Gonegirl Sun 27-Oct-19 09:27:50

That's lovely advice Annie.

crazyH Sun 27-Oct-19 09:37:13

I often do what Anniebach suggested. I prefer to pop in during the daytime (btw, our church is open all day) , when I am on other errands. I light a couple of candles, stay a few minutes and say a little prayer. I prefer that to the formality of a Mass. Perhaps it's because it drags on too long and there's a lot of distraction.
I hope you find the strength to go back to church . You are lucky to have a supportive husband. Don't give up.

wildswan16 Sun 27-Oct-19 09:37:23

I've never been sure why, but although I love going to church, I don't like going for services. I much prefer just going into any open church and sitting, wandering around, thinking my thoughts etc. Sometimes I go into the big cathedral near me, full of tourists usually, but find a quiet corner and just sit.

Maybe, as Anniebach has said, that would be a good way for you to start. Of course, there is a lot to be gained from becoming part of a church "community" but maybe that will come later for you. flowers.

ninathenana Sun 27-Oct-19 10:03:31

Good advice ready given.
You say you don't know the vicar of your chosen church, would it help to invite the vicar to tea smile you could briefly explain why you were doing this.
You would then at least feel that he/she wasn't a complete stranger.

Anniemay Sun 27-Oct-19 10:24:13

I also find it difficult to go to services despite being a church goer all my life. I agree going into a sacred space and sitting, lighting a candle, just being even if you can’t pray with words can feel healing and calming. If you were able to contact your vicar( do you know anyone who knows her/him) they will come to see you at home, pray with you if you want, bring communion....they should be understanding of your needs. Sometimes I just use the words of a well known prayer each day even if it doesn’t feel real. I hope it will be.

Anniemay Sun 27-Oct-19 10:29:22

Sorry Sally I just noticed you don’t know any of the congregation. Maybe you could e mail the vicar which is less scarey than phoning but I realise that might be too hard as well. So maybe just doing what people here suggest and sitting in the church or any church when it’s empty you might meet someone who knows or just try being there.

Alexa Sun 27-Oct-19 10:30:24

I experienced exactly the same on the two occasions I tried to go to church. It matters not if your husband is an unbeliever or even if you are an unbeliever, as doubters too are loved by god maybe even more so than believers who have never doubted..

Why not sit with your nice husband at the very back so you can easily eave if you start to cry? You can always explain tot the minister after wards and she will understand and applaud your effort.

Eglantine21 Sun 27-Oct-19 10:51:13

Would it be possible to go to something that isn’t a regular “service”. Our local church does coffee and a couple of Fairtrade type stalls once a month. Just like going shopping really.

It also does a 10minute lunch talk each Friday. Not religious. A variety of speakers talk about something important to them or sometimes just read a story.

The non conformist church does breakfast on a Sunday in the Hall. Bacon sandwich, a Bible Story and a very short prayer.

I’m not a formal church goer myself but I’ve enjoyed all of these.

Churches are keen to find ways to reach out to people who find formal church services very daunting.

Fennel Sun 27-Oct-19 11:55:24

Another idea to start - invite church friends and your vicar, to come and pray in your home.
I changed from C of E to Judaism after marrying a Jew and this is what many Jews had to do when they were persecuted.
Still often do now.
Whatever building you're in, God hears our prayers .

Septimia Sun 27-Oct-19 13:25:19

I agree with annie - see if you can find a church that is open but empty. Forget about going to services at the moment.

Many churches are in beautiful, tranquil places, even those in towns. Our village church has lovely views and wildlife. I often sit on the bench in the churchyard and enjoy the peace. If the weather is bad, the inside of our church is just as peaceful.

No need for any religious faith - we can all benefit from a bit of quiet contemplation!

Doodle Sun 27-Oct-19 14:42:40

sally God is with you whether you are in church or not. You don’t have to pray or say much at all. I think the idea of going in at a time when there is no service is a good one. Just sit and see how you feel. I hope you can gain some comfort this way.

mumofmadboys Sun 27-Oct-19 14:59:35

A lot of people cry in church. It is not a problem to anyone else, other than feeling concerned for you. You may find if you go to a service you know people who go there. I wish you well.

Fennel Sun 27-Oct-19 17:56:12

Sally - sorry I missed the bit in your post where you said you don't know the vicar or any of the regulars.
I hope your local church has a group who visit and give support to people who are poorly, physically or mentally.
Many do, and if they don't they should. That was Jesus' main mission.

Stansgran Sun 27-Oct-19 18:07:09

Our local cathedral no longer feels like a sacred space. It's mayhem with shouty people behind a desk trying to. get donations and rehearsals for concerts. On Saturday there was a Halloween tea party and recently a business dinner to raise funds and an auction of stone. Not a place to go for solace and peace.

Fennel Sun 27-Oct-19 18:35:48

Stansgran - I'm glad you posted that. My sister, who returned to Christianity after many years as a 'don't know' belongs to a cathedral fund raising comitee. They live in a big city.
My view is that old fashioned churches, and huge religious buildings (synagogues included) are far too expensive to keep going. Much more practical to have smaller places for prayer. As has happened to the many non-conformist chapels here.

Fennel Sun 27-Oct-19 18:44:00

Sally - your OP reminded me of my Mum, who had been a regular church attender. Then she had a stroke, and felt that she had lost that connection with spirituality, and was very upset.

BradfordLass72 Mon 28-Oct-19 09:11:36

Quite a few churches, of all denominarions, have house groups and like Fennel says, that is how the early Jewish (budding Christians) groups did is because they were persecuted.

Now, house groups fill a different need: for people who cannot get out but want the contact of people who believe, as they do.

I agree you don't need an actual church building to feel near to God but it is nice to have a few people around you to pray, discuss various subjects, sing and rejoice.

Ring the Vicar, they may have a house group, or you may inspire them to start one, wouldn't that be goo?

Writing that has made me realise how much I miss it!!