I did it. I took my son to church today. I haven't been to church in I-don't-know-how-long, but this is the same church I went to as a teen that made my life tolerable. I am hoping that it will do something similar for my son, who is having some of the same issues now that I had then.
We arrived at 9:15 for the breakfast that the men of the church put on every Sunday. The parking lot was empty. So was the parrish hall. We saw one man and asked him if he knew what was going on, but he didn't. It was one of those strange there-ought-to-be-people-but- there-aren't, end-of-the-world-but-I-didn't-know-it feelings that I get sometimes.
My already less-than-enthusiasic child thought we should give up and go home. No dice, baby! We went to Bagel-Bagel and had breakfast, then went back. There still were far fewer cars than I thought there would be, and plenty of space in the pews. The last five or six pews were roped off - probably to make people sit a little closer to the front.
Sullen child sat in the corner of the pew and read his library book "Diary of Anne Frank" for most of the service. I stood and sang the impossible Episcopalian hymns that make my voice change key several times per verse, recited the prayers from memory and began to feel strangely at home.
She stopped crying quickly and the service continued. Fr. S gathered the kids (except my stubborn one) at the front of the church and talked about baptism and what it means. He baptised a couple of the kids up there and they talked about their own baptisms. I suspect the rector was baptised as a Baptist from his description of his own baptism! Once we moved on to the actual baptism, ZBoy put his book down and watched. And when it was over, he picked it back up.
I pondered how to address his behavior. Had it been me, I'd have been pinched or poked into sitting up straight and paying attention. But I wanted him to feel... if not enthusiastic about coming, perhaps at least amenable. So I did nothing except tell him to look people in the eye and answer when he was spoken to and asked him if he wanted to participate in communion (no). And I let it go at that. Perhaps over time he'll feel more at home and more willing to pay attention or maybe even participate. I won't push him, but I will take him!
I didn't see many kids his age. There were a couple up front doing acolyte duty. From what I gather, there is a youth group here, but I don't know how active or how many kids. I may have to go to St. John's to find youth group stuff for him. I think I might make an appointment with the rector and ask him some questions about how the church works these days. What activities are available and when.
The congregation seems small and older to me. I actually like that, but I may need to find a younger congregation for my son to see what going to church could be.