In this post we hear directly from ASP student Peyton Smetana. He describes what it’s like to be new in the city, as well as what it’s like to look for and find a church home.
If you are anything like me, and there is the chance there are a few of you out there, you are currently in an odd place in your faith. On top of that, you are looking at the American Studies Program, a semester-long program based on conversations on the intersection of faith and politics. What could be better than learning about faith in politics in a time where you are uncertain of your own religious beliefs? Uhhhh…I really wasn’t sure. After arriving in DC, I didn’t feel ready to engage in church along with the intense conversations we already had during the week at ASP.
There were many things I was not certain about coming into my semester in the American Studies Program: who my friends were going to be, where I will go out for dinner, will I meet the love of my life, and will my political beliefs change? Out of all the uncertainty, I was certain about one thing: I was not going to church.
Certainly God had a different plan for me.
I went to church the first weekend I was in DC, and it was the first time I attended in months. The first weekend I went to church in DC was not to listen to the pastor, but rather an attempt to get to know my newly found friends from the program on a more personal level. It was the next weekend, with the same motive as the first, where God’s plan began.
I know it’s cliché to say it felt like the pastor was speaking directly to me, but it did, and for the next few weeks it continued to feel as if every sermon were meant only for my ears.
Christ City Church offered me a place of restoration and community each week. At the end of a hectic week of work, school, and trying to see and do as many things as possible in this city, Christ City gave me an opportunity to reflect, relax, and rejoice in the blessings and sovereignty of God.
It also provided a place to meet and learn from people of the widest array economically, culturally, and politically. Through the wide swath of prominent differences, the common thread of loving Christ is what continued to catch my eye and rope me in.
Reconciling a relationship with God can be scary, but finding a place to safely grow at your own pace makes all the difference. If you are new to the American Studies Program, or Washington, DC in general, find a church community that reflects the type of person you want to be. You truly will not regret it.