Church culture is very different in California and Texas (or the south in general). Going to church isn’t something people do because they get to spend time with people, make connections, or just go to be like everyone else. In California, no one cares if you don’t go; they don’t care if you do.
This summer, Brandon visited most of the “Episcopal” churches in the area. (I use quotes because, although some of them were called that, they were far from the traditions that I had been raised amidst.) The two he thought we’d like best were St. Thomas’ Hollywood and St. Mark’s Glendale. When I visited this summer, I attended St. Thomas’ with him. It was in a stone building, followed the traditional service closely (they even use Rite I) and the priest and congregational members were nice. However, due to the transitional climate of the neighborhood, there were few families or even couples and we found ourselves amidst a sea of middle aged single men.
Having attended a traditional Episcopal church my whole life, the ritual and routine is very important to me… but I’d also hoped we would have a few outward commonalities with our fellow parishioners. Brandon had also really liked St. Mark’s, so we gave it a shot this past Sunday (I’m a little late posting). The service was still traditional (and held in a stone building). The congregation was nice and had more variety than Hollywood. Following the service, we ventured to the parish hall. The priest is friends with Bishop Stanton from the Diocese of Dallas, so he understood a bit about where we were coming from and the differences we were observing. We talked to several other couples and people (who were shocked to see us carrying our own BCP/Hymnals–they said their grandmother used to have one) and we were generally pleased with the experience.
Finding a new church is probably the most difficult transition of making a move (well, besides this time zone thing–it still just blows my mind), but I think this is probably where we’ll be. We’ll test it out for a couple more weeks and, if the feeling stays the same, dive in to serving and all that good stuff.