Romain, Charles, and I have finally found our new church home and the place where we will get Charles baptized later this year. We have decided to join the congregation of Emmanuel Episcopal Church Geneva. Emmanuel Episcopal Church, built-in 1877, is a church that celebrates the diversity of its multinational congregation, which is made up of a wide range of denominational and non-Christian backgrounds.
Recently I made a lovely mom friend at the baby gym here. After one of our 'mom-dates,' she mustered up the courage to invite me to a baby-friendly Friday morning Bible study. I am always open to new experiences, so I readily said yes. It's been over 20 years since we've even stepped foot into a house of worship. Returning to church has been something we've wanted to do for at least 2 years now (definitely since we knew our family would be expanding). However, there was never a church that was the right fit for our family in Marseille.
Excited and extremely nervous, I went to the women's Bible study. Where I was embraced and welcomed with absolutely no judgment for being from another denomination, nor for having been absent from practicing Christianity for more than 2 decades. There I met women from around the world, and we sat and spoke philosophically about that week's reading.
After chatting with some of the women, learning a few of their stories and them a bit of mine. At the end of the Bible study, I was given a Bible by the organizer, a wonderful woman named Helen. She also opened up her home to Romain, Charles, and I and invited us to dinner with her family and a few friends the next day.
I was then put in contact with Micheal, the church's Rector, to discuss our desire to baptize our son. I explained to him that Romain and I were not currently practicing. That we both come from different denominations (he's Catholic, and I'm Lutheran by baptism, raised in the Baptist Church). And how difficult it was to try to do the ceremony with the Catholic Church (entirely too many rules and not nearly as welcoming).
We then went on to talk a bit about life, and how we were settling into Geneva. He then told me he would be more than happy to do the ceremony for us with no strings attached to having to attend Sunday service regularly! Of course, he did invite us to participate in the service that Sunday. Since finding a church home was of great interest to our family.
Come this Sunday, we both were a bit apprehensive and quite nervous about how our family would be received and the vibe of the congregants. And once again, we were warmly welcomed and looked after during the service. Charles was such a good boy, he barely made a peep! Though he was quite active during most of the service, he loved the choir, as well as the piano and organ playing. As usual, charmed the pants off the entire congregation! By the end of service, he was in the arms of an older woman. He'd been flirting with behind us.
When everything was said and done, the whole church had taken the time to stop over, speak with us, and welcome us to Emmanuel. Richard, the Deacon, has even offered to do the baptism in English and French so that Charles French-speaking family members will not be left out of the service! Everyone was so dynamic, it was really refreshing to be in the company of people of such a caliber. To be in an environment where no one made us feel like we did not belong, and the sermon and music were excellent!!
What I appreciate most about Emmanuel Episcopal Church is that they really aren't hung up on where your at in your journey. What denomination or walk of life you come from, they truly are just glad you came. I'm looking forward to taking our son there on Sunday's and finally getting him baptized this spring.