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Thursday, January 25, 2007
Whozat New Kid?
I was the new kid precisely once when I was young and remained so for my entire youth. When I was a baby my parents moved from their hometown areas in Massachusetts to Kansas. When I was six we moved back to the restrictive confines of New England and an insular small town in Vermont. My parents remain in that small town and are still considered new comers ... 40 years later! (Psst ... do not do the math ... I'm hiding my age ;-) )

Fortunately for me that was my one and only experience of not quite belonging. I have spent the rest of my life being pleasantly surprised by the capacity of people to incorporate new friends into their midst. I went to college and blew out my horizons by studying political science and international studies. So I went to Washington DC to change the world or become a foreign services employee. Instead I met my husband ... became ADD and have done some very different things over the course of our 20 year marriage (do not do the math).

I was raised in a family where God was not that important. We didn't go to church and my parents still tend to believe that faith is a crutch for those who are mentally weak in some manner. I'm the oldest of three children and fight my bossy-big-sister tendencies all the time. And I know there are some who might say that this faith of mine began in some sense as a rebellion against my parents. Sobeit. God takes our sacrifices no matter how meager and uses them to change us.

I began my journey of faith in an Evangelical Free Church in the very early 90's. I've been a Sunday School teacher, a youth worker, a Bible Study teacher, a small group leader, and house church leader. We left that church 2003 for many different reasons that are all too lengthy to list here. It's an unhealthy church. We now refer to it as the Church we Left Behind (CLB).

We're now part of an emerging community of faith. I'm part of the group that plans and organizes our worship experience each Sunday. I get to teach and lead worship every so often, which is to say, when it's a subject that I'm passionate about. Being a part of this community takes so much more intentionality, transparency and basically hard work ... but the reward is occasional glimpses of the Kingdom. That makes it all worthwhile.

Yes, I have a blog which you're welcome to visit as you wish. I write there under the penname aBhantiarna Solas, which means Lady of Light in Celtic. I'm looking forward to listening more here, and chiming in occasionally. I've promised some book reviews on women in ministry and those will begin popping up here and there. You may promptly beat them down in a virtual game of Whack-A-Mole. But ... enough about me ...

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posted by Sonja Andrews at 5:35 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/25/2007 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    welcome to Emerging Women - thanks for sharing some of your story with us!

  • At 1/25/2007 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    Hi Sonja,
    Thanks for sharing. I love hearing from women already in "leading" areas of the church. I just recently joined our staff (something I never thought I would do) and I am in the process of creating a "feminine perspectives" group within our community (something else I need, but feel a little unprepared for). I am excited to be involved, but have to say I am still workin on the confidence "thing". Soooo... I am sure as time goes, I will be tapping into the great resources here!

  • At 1/25/2007 04:47:00 PM, Blogger anne

    Sonja, nice to meet you. I'd love to hear more about what particular stream of worship planning that you do. Is it music worship or something else?

  • At 1/25/2007 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Sonja, I grew up in Mass, and I know exactly what you mean about living there for a long time and still not feeling like you belong. New Englanders seems to have a friendliness deficiency, which might be helped by special lamps or frequent tickling.

    My first church was an E-free church too! Before I became a I'll never forget the "youth sunday" where I was told I couldn't preach because I was a girl.

  • At 1/26/2007 12:28:00 AM, Blogger sonja

    Hi Anne ... oh ... ummm ... we plan the whole thing. Our worship element last Sunday involved speaking words of violence and words of peace that had been published about various periods in history (Crusades, Holocaust, Civil Rights) and having the whole congregation participate with me in composing a prayer together that we would be a people who would speak words of peace. But our team planned the whole service. Worship hardly ever means singing at my church.

    Jemila, the final catalyst for us leaving the EFree church was my being told I could not teach a co-ed Sunday School class. It was not pretty. I'm sad now and again because I miss some of my friends. But I know that I'm doing the things that God made me to do. And that is good.

    Michele, a book I'd really recommend for you is "Equal To the Task" by Ruth Haley Barton. It's an excellent book about women and men working together in the church. But it's also really about women being strong, confident women. A great read.

    Thanks ... Julie ... This is a great place you have here. I like the decor and the people are really super!!

  • At 1/26/2007 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    Sonja: Welcome to EW. The service you described sounds really powerful. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing about the various ways folks are exploring worship...what seems clear is the need to make worship EXPERIENTIAL and creating an opportunity that draws people into the experience, making it personally meaningful and transformational rather than an emotional experience that felt manipulative or superficial. I'm struggling for the words here...anyway. Thanks for sharing and glad to have you here.


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