January 18, 2024
Something Unique About Church Friends
Recently, Bill and I went out to dinner with a couple we first met in our home congregation almost 20 years ago. They are what I think of as “church friends.”
If you had listened to our conversation in the restaurant that evening, the “church friend” part of our relationship wouldn’t have been obvious. We checked in on our families, health adventures, their planned move to a retirement community, native plants, holiday plans, and the food we’d ordered. There were a few updates on our current UU involvement and those who we know in common. A lovely catch-up dinner.
What grounds this particular friendship is our shared church experience. We likely never would have met had it not been for church. Our ages are a bit different, our work and other community connections were different, and we lived in different neighborhoods. We found each other through active engagement at church. While we had different areas of involvement in the congregation, over the years, our paths crossed in natural ways. We were part of planning teams, participated in marches in DC, and attended General Assembly in locations across the country together. In time, we knew many people in common—also “church friends.” We’ve walked through community joys, losses, conflicts, and projects together. They’ve visited us on the Eastern Shore and attended UUFE. We are comfortable with UU ritual and language. Church friends.
After the restaurant, we went to their home for dessert, and the conversation flowed to faith, our perspectives on the country, and more.
Maybe you find yourself prefacing some conversations with, “[XXX], who I know from church…” It offers a context that matters. I find that with church friends, conversations can easily shift to deeper topics, even in the aisles of the grocery store. We share being a part of communities that ask big questions together, who readily check in on the wellbeing of one another, and who are curious and frustrated together.
Consider those who may fit as “church friends” for you. What is unique about that experience? What helps us develop and tend to our “church friend” relationships? Interesting questions for reflection as we begin 2024.
In gratitude for the many ways we build meaningful connections,