Back in Camden, I got my first experience in attending a church that was predominantly older, like 60-ish. Camden was great, and I really miss the Mass I got to participate in with the folks at Sacred Heart. When Tracey and I moved here, we found another awesome church that has an outstanding history that impressed us so much that we joined last September. Church of the crossroads was the first inter-racial church here in Hawaii, paving the way for the cultural tolerance the state is known for. It also provided sanctuary for over 30 GIs during Vietnam for over 30 days, before being raided by the military police. A colorful history is something that draws me to a church (Sacred Heart in Camden had a similarly vibrant history).
The group is very liberal leaning, but nonetheless liturgical. Tracey has said the more liturgical service is enjoyable, that it helps her focus. It is cute to watch her read along as the pastor gives the sermon (printed copies are provided for those who are hard of hearing, in large print for those who have bad eyesight). I even did some checking into the denomination (UCC), and I am fairly satisfied with their governing structure. The thing is, this crowd is OLD.
We were attending a very young, active church for awhile, which was great, but it was everything I was used to. I realized that I needed to challenge my presumptions and habits. The last thing my faith needed was to be surrounded by people my own age, background, social standing, etc. Since starting at Crossroads, I have found significant value in inter-generational diversity. I have found a wealth of knowledge listening to my fellow church goers; getting a ride over the Ko’olau mountains with another Crossroader (my ‘hip’ slang for other members, some habits never change), or sitting through the endless stories from (one of many) of our 90+ members who has nothing but stories and time to tell them.
So anyway, last week I was in the dreaded VA medical center to set up my initial appointments (7 months after I moved back here…), and they asked me if I wanted a free flu shot. I have been described as a strapping young man, not quite the type that is at risk for influenza, but the flyer I was given mentioned interaction with the elderly as a reason for getting the shot. I hate shots, but I love my church, so I went ahead and opted to get pinched. With each sniffle, I remember my church.
…and I don’t think any of them would object to being called old farts.