Monday, January 19, 2009

Love Story, cont'd, or, How the Baptist Girl Ended Up Married to an Anglican Priest

Awhile back, a commenter asked if I would ever continue the love story, especially to explain how I went from being Baptist to becoming Anglican! I thought it was a great idea, and I am finally getting back to it.

So! I believe we left off the love story here, with Papa Rooster and I getting married in a December wedding at the Baptist church I grew up in.

It was our final semester at Wheaton College, and Papa Rooster and I were looking for a new church. We had been attending a Bible church that was close to campus, but the previous semester, PR had taken a Church History class and for a paper, he had researched a fascinating period in American church history: the charismatic revival in the Episcopal church in the 1970’s.

In his research, he had found references to a “three streams, one river” concept which referred to three worship styles—charismatic, evangelical and liturgical—blending together to create a balanced whole. He recognized that this phrase described a church he and his parents had occasionally attended when he was in high school, though it was an hour away: St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien, CT (in the days when Fr Terry Fullam was rector; the story of the renewal there is documented in Miracle in Darien). Those services had been as ideal as he could imagine: evangelical teaching, with Spirit-filled worship and spontaneous prayer, in a liturgical structure which contained and shaped the other two.

So we began to try different churches every Sunday, searching for something similar. We tried Episcopal churches, Assembly of God churches, even a Vineyard. But nothing really had that balance.

(Little did we know that just a few years after we graduated, Fr. William Beasley would come to tiny Church of the Resurrection --just barely in existence when we were at Wheaton--and begin to shape it into a wonderful example of a “three streams, one river” church. And it continues to be, to this day!)

We graduated, moved to Des Plaines (another Chicago suburb), and had started trying to plug in at a community church, when, back at Wheaton at a reunion for recent grads, we struck up a conversation with another couple that we had known only by sight in our Wheaton days. Incredibly, we discovered that we lived just blocks away from one another! And so began a friendship that lasts to this day.

These new friends immediately asked us to consider being part of the small group that they were forming. The catch? We had to attend their church, giant Willow Creek Community Church. So we became regulars at this mega-church in its heyday, sitting under Bill Hybels, Lee Strobel and other phenomenal teachers.

Willow Creek was spawning daughter churches left and right at that time (’88-early ’91), and we and the other couple discerned that we were being called by God to start a Willow Creek-style church plant out in Los Angeles. We decided to rent a house together, near the church, so that we could pray and worship and strategize more about this.

And there I shall leave you, holding your sides and laughing at our youthful naivete--please, feel free!--till Part Two.

4 comments:

Heather said...

I so glad you're doing this story! I have wondered for so long about your "conversion."

Scarlett said...

Hello :-):

I'm the "commenter" that asked about your journey from Baptist to Anglican. Thanks so much for posting.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Scarlett--

Oh, good, I'm so glad you're reading!! Thanks for your patience. ;)

Jeanne

DebD said...

I love hearing about people's Spiritual Journey's. They are so full of discovery and joy.

Thanks for sharing yours.