Between my junior and senior year I interned at NASA in Cleveland. I was a very determined girl to find a church to go to during the summer because I greatly enjoyed my college church and wanted to continue that source of love and understanding, but I struggled greatly in this endeavor. It was a very different place than the South when it came to religion and I wasn't under my parents' wing at this point. So I hopped around for a while and near the last month of my 3 month internship finally found something that would work. I wasn't in love with it though and since it was mega church set up I honestly felt like a number more than a person in it, but it would do for a month in my mind.
I went back to school in my senior year taking more of those core classes, and two of classes included study of Old and New Testament. The OT class opened my eyes to the connection between our Jewish roots and our newer Christianity. It renewed in me a respect for the liturgy and ritual aspect of worship. The NT class, while taught like a Bible quiz class, had some influence from the professor that got me thinking. In it he stated that it was important to him that his church were he was a pastor celebrate communion every Sunday. This was the first time I had ever come in contact with a church that would do that. Every other church I had been part of, communion was at the most done monthly if not less or only as the spirit led. I listened to a lot of his sermons, or at least the required ones for class and it prompted a lot of questions. I didn't act on anything at this point, but I think this was a key factor to the beginnings of my conversion, if this intelligent man that I respected thought so highly of communion, why was that? In the end, I think that it helped me to have more respect for the worship the baptists took part in, at least the kind that my professor was.
After I graduated from undergrad, I ended up deciding to go back to Cleveland for grad school in chemistry. I had been part of a joint project with Case Western and NASA in my internship and if you know anything about Case's campus, its filled with some really fun architecture and so I applied got a really good deal to go and decided this was my school. I thought that I would start getting acclimated to grad school in June by working in one of the labs there for the summer, so I did. I chose a random roommate for the year from the school classifieds and well, that was very interesting in itself, the only relevant part to my conversion was that because she was already established and living in the apartment, there was no need to set up everything as a new account. I had internet. I had basic utilities. I had the ability to protestant church shop, because knowing the unsatisfied feeling I had the summer ago, I was determined to find a home.
On the first weekend I was there, I looked up churches, first a Baptist one, because remember I had a really good professor experience and actually came away with a large respect for the establishment as a whole through my college experience. However, it was a dud. I went home after the service, no one really welcomed me and I just felt empty. That wasn't the feeling, I wanted to take away my first Sunday back in Cleveland. So internet searching I did, and I stumbled upon an Assemblies of God church that had a great website, it was a little further away, but it met at a high school and this was familiar to me so I went. And it was a good thing I did. I felt like this was going to work, and work well. It was like going back to my college church days and I was so thankful. Also, little did I know that amongst the welcoming people I met that day, I also met a lapsed Catholic amongst the church goers. A lapsed Catholic who ended up my husband a few years later. But we will stop there for today.
Read part 1 Here.