A Boy Who Quilts: A Visit to East Longmeadow UMC

Posted on November 21, 2011


A quilt on the altar at East Longmeadow UMC

My son got the message weeks ago that white, crew socks are unacceptable in sixth grade.  Sunday we enjoyed a full hour of uninterrupted conversation about those white socks and the pressures of conformity.  What sparked the openness?  First, we agreed to visit a church near Springfield together–East Longmeadow United Methodist Church–and that church is one hour away.  Second, that church, through its website, encouraged participants to bring a quilt.  My son had sewn a quilt himself years ago and he was proud to share it with these strangers.  Would he share such a treasure, such a talent, with his friends?  Never.  I cherish churches because they have the capacity to ignite conversations like this.

I have written a review of a church commended to me by my wife who knows and respects the pastor.  I offer these reviews because in the days when I was responsible for a local church I would love to have heard feedback on worship that didn’t begin and end with “Nice sermon, pastor.”  As I’ve shared before, my evaluations of churches clearly reflect my own tastes and so might be easily dismissed by those with differing sensibilities.  But I also try to hold churches accountable to their own standards.  In this case I challenge the church’s commitment to “Safe Sanctuaries”, for example.  But I also find windows of grace where some kind of divine message comes through for me.  Sunday’s focus on quilting warmed my soul and opened a door of communication with my pre-teen, for example.

As always I welcome comments and invitations to explore other congregations.



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