42 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 9-17-18

  1. Good morning everyone but Jo.
    We’re starting another week.
    My phone says the rain will slack off this evening and quit tonight.
    Good night Jo.

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  2. The effects of this storm will last a long time.
    I don’t live on a floodplain. It will take lots of water to get to my house.

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  3. The rains from Florence are expected to reach us tomorrow, I think. It is overcast out there right now.

    A year ago from yesterday, I reported that the bleeding from Hubby’s bladder had finally stopped, and we expected that he might be able to come home in a couple days or so.

    A year ago today, I reported that Hubby and I were both crying because the bleeding had started again. I wrote, “It’s feeling like he’s never going to be released.”

    On a lighter note. . .Nightingale found the drill charger that Hubby had accused her of losing a few years ago. She had even bought him a whole new cordless drill (with charger), but the matter of the missing charger came up in conversation now and then. He insisted that she had used it last and then lost it, and she insisted that she had put it back.

    She found it last evening while looking in a box of various items in the basement. She came up and asked me who had packed that box. The answer: I did.

    It was a time when I was frustrated by all the stuff Hubby had collected in our room. I had thrown a bunch of stuff in a big box and taken it downstairs. I didn’t remember that the charger was part of all that stuff. (I probably didn’t know what it was.) Oops.

    Nightingale wishes she could say, “Look, Daddy, here it is! I didn’t lose it – Mommy packed it away!”

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  4. Picture looks like a street in Greensboro.
    Not really, the storm went around us. We got extensive effects because we were in the center of the circle it went around. Hence, a long time of messy weather. But mess is all it was. I think the worst is over here, though it is still rain. I have some limbs down, but no more wind and no damage.

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  5. In the discussion of pronunciation in different languages, Peter wrote “Our V is lower lip to upper teeth.”

    That’s how I have to pronounce V, so that made me smile.

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  6. Still catching up reading the weekend discussions. Several years ago, there were other discussions on home church vs. institutional church. What I found interesting was that each side had the same concerns/accusations about the other side. I don’t remember them all, but “the biggie” seemed to be the danger of a controlling, manipulative pastor in either home churches or institutional churches. Another danger was lousy doctrine.

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  7. Mergansers! I’ve only ever seen one at a distance!

    It has been almost two weeks since I have been down to “my” pond . . . last time I went was a very hard day, emotionally, because it became super-abundantly clear on that walk that not only was my wound not healing, it was getting worse. Anyway, I’m planning to go down there this morning (now), and this morning I have an almost-healed knee to take with me. (I even have new hair growing in the place the wound used to be . . . it’s still bright red, and the doctor told me it will be a good while before it regains proper color; I think the red is from the steroid cream. But compared to a weeping wound that refuses to heal, I’ll take it!!!)

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  8. Morning! Oh how some of us would take a little of that rain ya’ll are getting! The morning temps are already hot but the sky is blue with wispy clouds hanging around here and there. I am off to yet another coffee conversation with friend…then heading over to watch grandson run in his cross country race over by the lake….it’s going to be so hot out there, poor little guy… 🏃🏼

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  9. It was interesting to hear the Adorable’s take on the mountain lion story. The two girls were convinced Hunter rushed out to save his sister. He’s their hero. They also said the mountain lion claw came close to getting the boy’s eye. “We saw the scar!”

    Turns out it wasn’t their neighborhood, but Hunter’s mom’s neighborhood–on the other side of the valley, a mere two miles away. Still, way too close for comfort. I’m surprised this story hasn’t made the paper. Hunter is only 11 years old. I remember when he was born.

    The girls are also practicing swinging the family baseball bats. “I know how to hit, Grammy.”

    That six-year-old has always been way overconfident . . .

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  10. Well, I knew it would come. Monday.

    But having that 4-day weekend was such a blessing, I needed that long break from everything.

    Now it’s back to digging up some stories and hoping none of them have to do with the homeless issue.

    When I leave for work today I’ll be able to see the north side of the house in a different light. Hoping it’s not so pumpkin-orange. 😦 It’s frustrating as I was so sure this color was the perfect shade. I still like it, but would have gone for a more muted, dark reddish undertone had I known.

    But that’s why painting the outside of a house is so fraught with anxiety, or it was for me anyway. It’s a lot to get wrong that you and your neighbors will be living with for a long time. And in my case I was going for what would be a pretty drastic change from the look before.

    Kim says I can make it work and it’ll get better.

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  11. Churches discussion: It occurred to me, as I was reading in Nehemiah this morning, that there is nothing new under the sun. The people went and rebuilt the city walls and prepared to worship the Lord properly again. They had careful instruction on how to do it. All the right people put in place as authorities, as singers, etc. Nehemiah went back to fulfill his promise to the king, and in his absence, things quickly deteriorated. What Michelle mentioned about accountability as did several if not all of us, is true. Now, we have the Holy Spirit living in us but we still need accountability. But that comes in many different ways.

    I have no problem with institutional churches, just wonder what the fuss is about a different take. Perhaps because I am a homeschooler and see that education can work outside of the traditional mode.

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  12. From our sermon yesterday:

    __________________

    The church, in today’s western Christian world, is viewed as quite expendable. It may be a good idea (or maybe not according to some), but it certainly is not considered necessary. People do not need the church to be spiritual. Spirituality, it is often asserted, is more easily accessed when it cuts all cords with the church. “I’m not into organized religion” could be made into a modern pagan/spiritual hymn. …

    (We are saved by Christ alone, never by “church membership.” But …)

    … It becomes a very dangerous game when evangelists add the church to the list of items which are dispensable. It’s like the doctor telling the patient, ‘All you need is the medicine” and then leaving the room. To which the patient might respond, ‘What medicine?’ ‘How much?’

    It would appear that God has made the church in a certain sense necessary. …

    (But, let’s not forget that) “The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error (Westminster Confession of Faith).” …

    _________________________

    Seems logical to me that we again wind up with the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments and church discipline as the core marks of a true church. Pretty straight-forward.

    As for concerns about abusive pastors, that’s where a church government that is based on a group of elders, not an all-powerful pastor, becomes so wise.

    It’s not overly complicated, but in today’s western evangelicalism it’s to often become a case of trying to reinvent the wheel.

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  13. Re the institutional church vs. home church: I grew up hearing that God created three institutions, family, government, and church, and that all three have authority and structure and accountability. I don’t know whether there is any biblical warrant to that three-institution structure, but it always made a bit of sense to me, and I do know that all three are designed by God. Are they parallel in any meaningful way, biblically, and can we biblically make a limit of three (and not, for instance, add companies as another type of institution)? I don’t know. But “institution” used in this way (as organizational structures created by God for the good of humanity) focuses on a living entity made of human beings, not bureaucracy.

    When people speak of institutional church vs. home church, the word “institutional” is meant to imply bureaucracry, autocratic leadership, and staleness as opposed to the vibrancy of a home church. Scripture makes no such distinction as to two “kinds” of churches. Well, there is a true church and there is a false church; there is the visible church (church members who are currently living, which includes those who are Christ’s own and those that are not) and the invisible church (all true believers of all times and places); there is the local church and there is the universal church. I think that when Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, the church in Rome, etc., he wasn’t necessarily writing to one body, but to several communing local bodies. Some might have been small, meeting in homes; and some larger, meeting in the synagogue or wherever they could meet. It isn’t the meeting place that makes a church a valid church (or not). It’s whether it submits to the Word of God and worships God through Christ. If it does not have elders and a structure in place for church discipline, then it is not a church; likewise if it does not have sound preaching of the Word and proper use of the sacraments (sometimes called ordinances), then it is not a true church.

    Also, “institutional church” as a term seems to lump sound churches with megachurches that have multiple satellite locations “served” by an unaccountable, famous pastor on a big screen–which is not at all the biblical picture of church with shepherds / elders / pastors / bishops (the words all being used more or less interchangeably)–based only on the theoretical negative that they meet in a church building and not a home. There is nothing holy (or perverse) about having a specific building and not meeting in a home, and using pejorative terms for the building-based churches is not helpful. (BTW, I know that those of you who said “institutional church” this morning did not mean it that way . . . but that’s the background of where we get that use of the term. To me it is a term like “cisgender” or “heterosexual”–a made-up term that does not add anything to the discussion.)

    I remember one time period on World’s blog when camps were simultaneously arguing that Orhodoxy was the only true faith and that house churches were the only legitimate way to meet–and obviously those two camps cannot be more different! I think we had two people arguing for “house church only” and one of those (at least) was strident in his insistence that a pastor must not receive a salary and that financially supporting the structure of an “institutional church” (building and salaries) was self-centered and wrong. This is not biblical, and it is not helpful. There’s a modern “movement” to besmirch what is called “institutional church” and push house churches as the only biblical option–and this movement is speaking out against the Church, which Jesus Christ loved enough to purchase us with His own blood. It doesn’t matter whether a church (which meets the biblical definition of a church) meets in houses, rented space, or owned space; there are advantages and disadvantages to each. But it does matter that it has elders who are true shepherds and that those elders are accountable to someone outside themselves.

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  14. Institutional church, I meant a church that had become an institution, a recognized and appreciated segment of society. The Methodist Church. The Presbyterian Church. The Baptist Church. and so on. Nothing negative, just that they had become recognized over a period of years as adding some benefit to society. I have no problem with any of those. I know people in all of them that love the Lord. Just wondering how those elders are different from the elders in a less recognized house church. They often use the same creeds and whatever. They have the accountability, the elders, the church discipline, the worshipping of God, etc. They are not chaotic or disorganized. The pastors are held accountable, some paid, some expected to work outside the office of pastor.

    And, like broken “institutional” churches, I do know of broken house churches. Which is why we don’t attend one.

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  15. Thanks for the birthday wishes Saturday. And thank you, Janice, for the yummy cake.

    I slept in, went for a 15-mile bike ride, vegged in front of the TV for awhile, did a few chores, and went out to dinner with extended family. It was a multiple-birthday celebration – mine, KJ’s, and Mrs B’s brother’s and sister-in-law’s.

    Big brother, I hesitate to contradict my older and wiser big sister, but you are SO much older than her that I think you must indeed be wiser.

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  16. Maybe the difference, Mumsee, is you and I have lived in so many places with so many different people and (at least in my case) attended so many different churches that we operate differently than other people. I’ve attended church in something like six different denominations and might consider another one if we moved somewhere and God indicated we should serve there.

    God indicated where we should worship because He had need of us in a specific place.

    I taught a neighborhood Bible study in Hawai’i while we attended the giant Calvary Chapel in Honolulu. It bothered me no one in the study asked me who I was to be teaching–I had no accountability.

    So, I went to the Navy chaplain and discussed the “problem” with him. It turned out he lived in my neighborhood, looked through the material and told me he would be my accountability person. He also reminded me we needed to get our daughter baptized . . . which somehow we had overlooked in all the craziness of moving.

    After nine months of remaining pretty much anonymous at Calvary Chapel–because they didn’t need us or our abilities–we shifted to the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church down the street.

    That Chaplain happened to be an LCMS chaplain and his wife taught at the school. Later, much later, we discovered they were college friends of our pastor here in California. The world is small. He died while on active duty in the Navy–one of only two people know who did so. The other was also a chaplain.

    I digressed there because I couldn’t help myself, but my point is we need to pay attention to where God plants us for HIS purposes. Never in a million years would I have attended an Episcopal Church, for example, and yet Bishop Seabury Episcopal in Groton, CT was exactly what I needed for five crucial years of my life.

    That’s the church body, alas no more, that I dream about and with whom I wish I was worshipping. I grew so much in that body of Christ. God used me so much there–as my friends in Virginia, this summer told me. (Who knew?) It was Spirit-filled, Anglican and solidly Biblically based with a fantastic pastor. Who knew but God?

    I prefer a small church. A house church probably would be too small for me–but a small group Bible study is a perfect compliment for a larger church. Ours starts Wednesday night. 🙂

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  17. Ok, that makes sense, thanks Michelle. I do remember attending the Chapel 3 service in Okinawa, where I served as a teacher in Sunday School. Until a new chaplain told me I had to sign some papers saying I had to promise a bunch of things and then was fired from teaching. We then attended a missionary church, off base. I have no idea what denomination or sending organization was involved but knew they were believers as had been many at the chapel. Denominations meant little to me at the time, I guess they still don’t very much. I realize they have value on letting you know something of the direction of the church, but not completely.

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  18. Yes, Mumsee, but you’ll notice I never would have attended an Episcopal Church because of their theology and yet that body of Christ made all the difference in my spiritual life to the good–and continues as a result of those friendships.

    I still wouldn’t look at an Episcopal Church, but an Anglican one? For sure.

    I’ve also never attended a Baptist Church; they lean too far away from the liturgical roots I love.

    I’m content in the LCMS, though I laugh every time Linda, correctly, corrects me on theology.

    Back to prepping to teach the woman’s Bible study for tomorrow. (I use a Lutheran Study Bible for the helps!)

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  19. I know many of you are wary of Pentecostal churches, but they are not all alike. Some are off-the-wall, and others quite staid. In my current church, one may not even realize we are Pentecostal, as we don’t have people speaking in tongues (except maybe when praying for people at the altar, but not out loud to the whole congregation), or giving prophecies, or anything “weird”. Well, unless you consider raising hands in worship to be weird, and not everyone does that.

    Anyone here follow Steven (or is it Stephen) Furtick? I have read some disturbing things about him. Every now and then, I’ll see someone post on Facebook a quote from him.

    Within the last several years, various Christian writers (Francis Chan among them) have emphasized being “radical” in living out one’s faith. I was pleased to read an article in response to that, reminding Christians that we are told in the Bible to live a quiet life, going about our business in faith and faithfulness. God may call some to be radical in one way or another, but it is not for all of us.

    Truly, though, living a life of faithfulness to Jesus and His word is pretty radical in and of itself in this world. 🙂

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  20. And I have never been to a Lutheran service. My brother, an unbeliever, used to teach Sunday School there. And I know there are wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lutheran church! I would attend an Episcopalian and Anglican church, more out of curiosity than anything. I enjoy the liturgy idea, that was in a Presbyterian church I attended years ago. It is all good, unless it isn’t. That is why it is important to be in Scripture daily, to be aware of false teaching. But the incredible diversity in Heaven will set us all straight, I am sure.

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  21. Sometime in the past week, I read a brief article about our home in Heaven (or maybe it should have said on the New Earth?). The writer pointed out, as many of us probably already know, that Jesus said His Father’s home has many rooms (not that there are separate mansions), and He has gone to prepare a place for us there.

    Well, I’ve read that verse I-don’t-know-how-many times over the years, but never thought of it the way the writer wrote about it. He said that our rooms will be tailor-made for each of us by our Savior, who knows each of us intimately. I never thought about what my room might be like, or that it would be made to be pleasing to me especially.

    That was such a sweet thought, it brought tears of gratitude to my eyes.

    (Does anyone think that scripture is more figurative than literal?)

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  22. One of the results of Hubby’s death is that I think of the future much more loosely than I used to. We all know intellectually that tomorrow or next year are not promised to us, that we could have a heart attack or a fatal accident today or next month. But we don’t necessarily “feel” that truth. Know what I mean?

    Since Hubby’s death, I am so aware of how fragile life is. I realize that at my age (57), I probably have about another 20 years left, maybe more if I pay more attention to healthy habits, but then again, maybe a few years less. But I don’t take the probability as a given. I am so aware that I could die at any time – suddenly, or gradually from a serious illness like cancer.

    Now, when I say that, I don’t mean that I am obsessing over death or fearful about it. I’m not. It’s just a possibility that seems so much more real to me than it ever has before, in a matter-of-fact kind of way.

    Although part of me is fine with the idea of going to Heaven to see Jesus and Hubby and whomever else I might know, and having the stresses of this life fall behind me, I see how much my family needs me, and I want to be here for them for a long while longer. Even so, God’s will be done, as He knows what is best for all of us.

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  23. Kizzie, I wouldn’t say that scripture is more figurative than literal, but I think it has to be figurative sometimes when it comes to heaven because we don’t have the experience or the words to grasp what it will be like. “Rooms” might be as close as our minds can get to understanding whatever it is Jesus has gone to prepare for us. It will sure be wonderful.

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  24. I tell God I am ready to head out any time, but I am also ready to stay here and be about His business. But I am excited to see what He has in store. Kind of like Christmas only much bigger. I have always envisioned myself in a little hut on the back forty but whatever He has planned is so much better than the best I can dream up.

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  25. Kevin – That’s a good point. What we imagine as a room, and what God has in mind, must be quite different. Won’t it be wonderful, whatever it is!

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  26. Let’s see, I have attended at least one service in these denominations / denomination families, but probably a minimum of three services in each (and for all I know, more denominations than these): Baptist, many different denominations (that’s how I grew up, and I was a member of mostly Baptist churches till my mid-thirties); non-denominational (Baptist-leaning; I was baptized in such a church); Presbyterian, several denominations, including membership in two denominations; Lutheran (mostly ELCA because I had one near me in Chicago that had astounding music in special services, but possibly others–and as I look at the website of the one I occasionally attended near Chicago, I see that it is extremely liberal); Pentecostal; Evangelical Free; Wesleyan. I have been inside an Orthodox church at least once, but I think it was for some sort of music program, a concert of some sort. I have attended at least two Sunday-morning services in a Roman Catholic church. I’m not sure if I have ever been to Anglican or Episcopalian–a very good friend in Chicago attended one, but I don’t recall that I ever attended with her. I tried to go to Kim’s church with her, but between my husband being sick that day and she and I missing each other, I wasn’t able to. As far as I know, I have never been inside a Methodist church. I have attended two churches that were mostly black (80%-plus, in one case 99% plus, and for 13 years I was a member of one that was 60% black).

    Growing up, my family church-hopped. When I went off to college at age 22, I chose to find a church as quickly as I could and stay there my whole four years–and I ended up staying an additional ten (almost), until I moved to Nashville. Likewise, I have stayed until I moved at the other two churches of my adult life prior to this one, and Lord willing I want to be in this one the rest of my life.

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  27. I’ve attended churches in a number of denominations as well, usually as a guest, some for a brief visit, some for news assignments; one side of my family is Roman Catholic so that’s been well covered, but also there were: Baptist (‘white’ and black 🙂 ), Lutheran, Episcopalian, various Reformed churches, Presbyterian (PCUSA and OPC, maybe more), Calvary Chapel, Quaker (both evangelical and ‘unprogrammed’ worship), Pentecostal (a *real* Pentecostal church, rolling in the aisles Pentecostal amid the din of everyone but a few of use speaking aloud in tongues), Methodist … Others? Surely.

    Some years ago I attended an offshoot church of some kind at the invitation of a fellow reporter, it was Christian but had become known for its heavy-handedness and aggressive proselytizing as members believed it was the ‘only’ real Christian church. I forget the name of it but at the time (in the 1990s?) it was very popular on college campuses. Once was enough for that one 🙂 I went mostly to get to know my co-worker better. She was African American and covered religion for a neighboring newspaper — she went from there to USA Today but I lost track of her after that.

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  28. Karen & Kevin. You have opened a subject that can’t be dealt with in the time left here. Briefly: 1 Cor. 3:9 says, “Eye has not seen, nor her heard, neither has entered into the hearts of men, what God has prepared for them that love him.”
    i.e. It can’t be described. We know that we will enter into the presence of God. (I don’t have time to look up the various scriptures.) I know there is no marriage in Heaven, but I hope we know each other.

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  29. DJ – The Pentecostal churches I have attended (two as a visitor and two as a member) were not like the one you described. My former pastor’s wife, who had been in many Pentecostal churches in her lifetime, spoke of knowing about those kinds, but not approving. Many Pentecostal churches believe in doing things in an orderly fashion, as the Bible teaches.

    *******
    As for denominations of the churches I’ve attended, they have been. . .Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist (I attended one for a while with friends as a teenager), and Congregational, as well as Assemblies of God.

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  30. Chas and Kevin – To me, whether it is a room like the kind we are familiar with, or something quite different, what touches me is that Jesus is preparing that place with us in mind. He doesn’t have to do that. We’d all be happy with just hanging out on the streets of Heaven. But He is adding an extra touch for us. Whatever it is, whatever that verse means, we will have that feeling of home and belonging that we all desire so strongly.

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  31. The word “mansions” used in the KJV comes from the French word “maisons”, which means “houses”. We in the US think it means large, often luxurious, palatial places to live. No. It’s greedy to think that. I like the translation in some versions: dwelling places. “Rooms” is good, too.

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  32. Kizzie, the Pentecostal church I attended (a friend was getting baptized) was largely Latino (a very big and popular church in our harbor area) though also had a nice racial mix, which I appreciated.

    My friend was a brand new Christian and eventually left as she felt she was being pressured by the pastor to take classes that would ‘teach’ her how to speak in tongues (teach was my/our word, I’m guessing his characterization would have been something like opening her to the Spirit).

    Anyway, I went there a few times with her, once on a New Year’s Eve where sins were written and tossed into burning outdoor trash cans.

    Re the life to come: As long as I won’t have to paint another house, let alone a mansion …. Although mine will definitely stand out 🙂

    Kim, sent you an important garage door color question via PM on FB. …

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  33. Re friend: she eventually left that particular church, not the faith! She joined with the local evangelical *mega* church (not a great choice, but it could have been worse!). She was trained in voice and was seeking also a church that would provide choir & solo opportunities.

    But she was very much a believer, and a very enthusiastic one at that.

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  34. Let’s see, I have been in Pentecostal, Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Brethren, Dutch Reformed, and non-denominational church services, not to mention the many Independent (IFB affiliated), Fellowship (a Canadian branch), and Congregational (also Canadian) Baptist churches I have attended for one or more services (there are 52 Sundays in a year and I have attended church my entire life). There are several Catholic churches near the places that I lived in the city but never attended, never been inside an Orthodox church, not seen any Lutheran churches that I can remember either around home or in the city, and wouldn’t be welcome in an old-order Mennonite or Amish meeting although they are not that far from either the city or my parents’ home. I have attended a house church in West Africa, and mission churches in both West Africa and northern Mexico, in addition to visiting churches in other parts of Ontario as well as on my visits to Nova Scotia and the United States.

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