Church has always been an important part of my mom’s life. For as long as I can remember, the majority of her social life revolved around her faith – Christian Women’s Club, Bible studies, serving on various church committees. Before I moved her to Los Angeles, she had been a very active and involved member of her church in Prescott for almost twenty years. Her church family was the main reason she’d wanted to stay in Prescott after my dad passed.
Her first weekend out here, my brother found us a church to visit in Burbank. Mom liked the pastor and his teaching style and we both liked the music, so we just kept going back and didn’t visit any other churches. We’ve been there at least a dozen times. Mom still enjoys it and I don’t mind it, but there’s one thing that is bothering me.
You know that part in almost every church service where they tell you to turn and greet your neighbors? Every week, the same thing happens. One or two people sitting near us quickly shake our hands before everyone scatters to talk to their friends, and we are left sitting alone in an empty pew. Every week Mom sits there looking around her, a hopeful smile on her face, and she is ignored. I hate seeing that. I hate that I took Mom away from a church full of people who were so happy to see her every week that they practically stood in line to hug her after the service, and that I brought her to a church where no one but the pastor and his wife can even be bothered to welcome us.
If she didn’t like the teaching so much at this church, I’d be tempted to look for a friendlier congregation. But I don’t know if it would be any different at another church out here. I know from my own experiences that you don’t become part of a church just by attending Sunday services. But I don’t know how to get Mom more involved. She no longer has sufficient powers of memory or focus to keep up with a Bible study, and they don’t have a prayer group. There’s a monthly potluck for Vintage Girls, but it happens during a weekday afternoon when I’m at work – and how am I going to find her a ride when I can’t even get someone to spend one minute shaking her hand and welcoming her to their church?