My first “52 Weeks of Worship” started as a way to enable healing, connection, and remembrance.My initial experience reawakened my desire to facilitate dialogue about community, connection, and Spirit – all parts of any worship experience that I have been honored to be a part of.
This project has evolved into an ongoing exploration of faith and spirituality. Now and in the future, I am committed to continuing to have different worship experiences, writing about them, travelling to talk about them, and facilitating dialogue about culture, community, connection, experience and worship, both online and in the world.
This blog will be part sharing – news and information that I find interesting about different worship traditions, and the people who practice within them. I will share experiences and discussions I have along the way. I invite you to join the dialogue. Do you have any questions about my journey? Any questions about your own? Anything you would like to talk about? Feel free to post responses to anything posted here, or questions, so we can all discuss whatever is of interest.
I would encourage all who are seeking God to read the Bible–all 66 books–a book at a time (breaking down the larger ones into manageable sections). As Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy Word is truth.” God’s truth does not change and we can measure our worship of Him by what He reveals in His Word.
The apostle Paul said in Colossians 1:3-6: “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.”
Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your comment. I agree with you – that for those that are seeking God, then reading the word of God is a great place to start. A few years ago, my New Years Resolution was to read the Bible cover to cover. As a Christian, I believed that was something that I should do in my life. I bought a “One Year Bible,” The New International Version, and every day, read portions of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. By the end of the year, I had read every word from Genesis to The Book of Revelation, and I learned a great deal through the process. As you can see, I am a big fan of breaking up big tasks into digestible chunks! 🙂
So I agree with you, and it appears your faith is strong. I would share with you, however, that this spiritual journey came to me at a time where life’s challenges shook my spiritual foundation. I do believe that at times of grief and mourning, that we have to be extremely intentional about reaching out to God, and God put this journey on my heart at a time where my spirits were extremely low.
My inspiration for this journey was Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Along the way, my aunt and uncle also suggested that I meditate on these verses in the Bible:
” And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29: 13 ( American Standard Version )
” But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul” Deut 2:29 ( New International Version (1984))
A strengthening of my faith really did come as I searched with all my heart and all my soul. And now, it is stronger than it has ever been.
I am well aware that for those who are staunchly committed to one of these faith traditions (like it appears that you are, as a Christian) may consider the project to be a distraction from a focus on what they consider to be one true religion (not to make an assumption about you specifically, of course), but I encourage you see the project as the journey taken by a Christian woman trying to learn as much as possible about other worship, traditions, and faith to strengthen her own Christian beliefs. In making a choice to observe and participate in multiple religious/worship traditions, I am essentially celebrating faith in general.
Again, thanks for stopping by!
I just opened my copy of Woman’s Day this morning and came across the article on your journey and I have actually been considering doing something like this for some months now! You have definitely inspired me to seriously think about it and start planning.
Thanks for stopping by, and I am glad to hear about the inspiration you received. One week at a time, two to three hours a week, my life was changed. So, go for it! And stop by and let us know how the planning is going, and the types of experiences you are having.
Best to you!
Hello Pamay –
I too just came across your article in Womans Day. And I am very interesting in reading and continuing to be a part of this journey.. as I read your blog.
I will share this blog with some of my “sista mommas” aka best friends…great to discuss as I feel that we are always growing spritually as we age. Thank you for your courage to share.
Welcome Terisita! I am so glad that you, and your friends and sista-mommas will be joining me on this journey. It is a blessing to know that we are are all growing spiritually – please come by, comment, and share. Namaste.
HI, I, too, read the article in Women’s Day! It radiated in my spirit when you said, it’s “comforting to walk into a place and seeing that everyone is there to help one another with whatever life has thrown at them”. I have found that in my church it seems that everyone is all about themselves and nobody has time for anyone else. I wish that churches were more about helping and not just preaching “fire and brimstone” messsages. It is great that Jesus healed the blind man and the 3 Hebrew boys had a lot of faith, but if you (the preacher) can’t help me have faith and learn to trust God for my disconnect notice, just how much faith do I really have and how effective is your ministering. I don’t know if I would take a whole year and search –I think I would be too confused:)–but I do visit other denominations regularly. Thanks for having the courage to walk your journey and share it with me! It truly has opened my eyes to various possibilities. God bless you!
God bless you too, Tammy! I agree that the world would be a better place if we all did our part to help each other. You never know what people are struggling with. I was blessed enough to come across some people who took the time to comfort me when I needed it – even if they didn’t know that they were doing it! I do believe in the kindness of strangers, so don’t give up. Keep visiting my52wow.com, and I will keep sharing the stories that come across my path. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for this article in Womens Day! I have not attended church for years. I recently thought about going back. I went to a Baptist church growing up. I just can not figure out what church will fit my beliefs? Do you recommend checking out all different places of worship?
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story.
One thing that I learned during the first 52 weeks of my project is that everyone’s journey is different. Some people would benefit from checking out all different places of worship, and for some, that would just be confusing. I would ask you – which category do you fit in? That will help you to decide what to do.
When I went to see the Dalai Lama (he came to Chicago to speak) – he mentioned that his advice is *not* to jump into another worship tradition just because it seems new and different, but to see if you can work with the worship tradition that you are familiar in. I think that is very wise. Certainly, my choice was to travel around the world of worship in order to seek God’s face everywhere – but my goal was not to find a new religion. I was walking through a grieving process. I know that I have plenty to learn about my own faith tradition, and this project has freed me to do that.
So! To answer your question – I would start with visiting different Baptist churches, as that is the church you were raised in. There is a grea deal of diversity within the denomination. Go, be a visitor. Find a really beautiful Baptist church, and go there one Sunday. Find one with an awesome choir, and go there one Sunday. Find one that you know you probably won’t go to more than once and go there. Visit a huge church, then visit a church with a small congregation. Be open to the process of finding a church home.
In your journey within your denomination, you may actually find a Baptist church that feels like home and resonates with you and your beliefs. Google was always my friend – I have lived in Chicago for 19 years and I was able to find churches that I had never seen or heard of, and I visited them. Do the same in your community –google, search, and then try some new churches out. Ask friends who you respect where they worship. Visit with them.
I of course appreciate the lessons that come from visiting all different places of worship from all worship traditions – but my first thought when I read your question was – start with what you know…and then if you don’t find anything that works, try another denomination – and then another faith tradition.
And if you want a buddy – I still travel to have new worship experiences. Just let me know!
Blessings to you!
I think your project is just awesome! What a great idea for a book!
I’m wondering if you’d consider including a New Thought church in your project, such as Unity?
Thanks for stopping by. I have been to Unity churches in my lifetime, although not during my first 52 weeks. I did attend some Religious Science churches during my first 52 weeks,and a Unitarian church. But there is no reason why I can’t visit a Unity church now. Where are you located? Do you have a church you want to suggest?
I’m in the St. Cloud, MN, area, but I know there are a few Unity churches in the Chicago area. I recently discovered Unity and love how inclusive and spiritual it is. I believe it’s so important to respect all religions and to focus on what they have in common rather than the differences. Your project is amazing, and I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that each person’s spiritual journey is different. That’s so true!
I was at a Discount Tire Center today waiting for my tires to be rotated. As I was waiting, I grabbed the Woman’s Day September 2011 issue and saw your article and read it. I must say that I was very much inspired with your article and that’s the reason why i am writing in your blog right now. Like you, I sometimes get into a spiritual warfare with myself although deep in my heart, I know and I believe that the only person who will be with me and who would stay with me all the way will be God. If I had the means, I would like to do exactly what you did… travel all over and seeing and experiencing different places of worship.
I know that I will learn more just by reading your journal and I vow to stay on it from this day.
Good luck, thank you and God bless you…
So glad that you stopped by after reading the Women’s Day article! I hope you enjoy the articles and perspectives that you read here…and I look forward to your comments, reaction and feedback. Blessings to you and welcome to the My52WOW family!