Sunday, October 15, 2017

Revisiting the Church of My Childhood

I double-dipped today, attending the 8:30 mass at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Wayzata, Minnesota; then taking in the 10:45 at Wayzata Community Church (UCC) just west on the boulevard.

The Protestant church (pictured) is bigger by several times than it was in 1950, when my parents were married here, or in 1952, when I was christened. My first Bible (RSV with black leatherette binding) is inscribed to me by Wayzata Community Church and dated 1959. I still have it.

So when I returned, a Catholic convert, to my childhood community this weekend, visiting relatives, it was important to me to return to where my faith was born.

Four babies were baptized at Wayzata Community Church this morning in a rite conducted by pastor John Ross, and they helped me revisit the spirit of my own entry into the fold, at seven months old during my first Minnesota winter. My Uncle Truck, a longtime member of Wayzata Community, warned me that Pastor Ross would be sermonizing on the Protestant Reformation, the 500th anniversary of which we “celebrate” this month.

The sermon topic was being saved “by grace, through faith.” I noted that the Protestant preacher mentioned the pope only once and used the word works in a positive vein though also only once. I told the pastor so as we exited.

“You walked to the edge of the precipice, referring to works,” I said, “but you pulled back from the brink. Well done.” He laughed. I think Truck had warned him that Catholic relatives (my wife and I) would be in attendance, and Ross went easy on us.

Tonight, we had dinner with Truck’s two children, their spouses, plus three grandchildren, all of whom are faithful Christians. It was a rich and rewarding feast to celebrate my return home, geographically and religiously.

I record this short post to register my gratitude.

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