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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: Agape in Action
By Ann Grover


I’ve quit church.

That’s right.

No more eleven o’clock services on Sunday morning. No more pinching high heel shoes and rumpling hose. I’m not competing for the shower anymore while screeching at the kids to finish their cereal, then harping at them to learn their verses on the way to Sunday School.

John’s thrilled he doesn’t have to wrestle with knotting a tie or sweat through another sermon in a three piece suit.

We’re done.

But that’s not to say we’re not meeting with other believers.

We’re going to Agape in Action Home Fellowship.

We meet in homes once a week, have a meal, let the children play, plan a project, and sing. But it’s pretty informal, comfortable, and relaxed. Just like the Greek word for “church” is really, “ekklesia” which means “called out,” we are called out from the others. We’re not a building or an organization. We aren’t a time or a place. Jesus says He will build His Church. We believe that.

Pretty simple.

Roy plays the guitar and does an excellent job strumming away. So many in our little group can harmonize beautifully together. I don’t miss Miss Emily wheezing away on the organ or Lilyanne flaunting her years of Royal Conservatory piano lessons.

When I had my surgery, Agape in Action brought my family and me meals for two weeks. They probably would have brought more food, but Julie went and had her baby early, and it wouldn’t have been fair of me to keep on expecting meals, would it? I even had John take a box of doughnuts over to her. I was still in a lot of pain, mind you, and I wouldn’t have thought of it at all but for the fact that Julie gave her newborn the same name as my youngest child.

Our leader is a very lovely man, Brother Alfred, and his wife, Sister Hazel. They know a lot about the Bible and are very good to us. But he tells us we must think outside the formula we’re used to and abandon “how we’ve always done it,” that it’s time to embrace new ways of “being” Church. I’m not sure what he’s talking about. All the same, he’s very kind.

Before every home fellowship meeting, we have a meal together. Some people just bring something from the supermarket, hot dogs or frozen lasagna, but I make my special baked chicken spaghetti and dutch apple pie, both of which get rave reviews every time. Agape in Action is very different from regular church in this way; no one ever knew what I took to pot luck dinners. There were too many people for my covered dishes to get any special recognition.

Sometimes, the children have a play time, depending on if there are facilities for the children to play or if we have a special project planned. If we are at the park or the host has a pool, the children are able to run or swim, but if we have a project such as cleaning or mowing for someone, we work on that instead. It’s important to take care of those in need. I wonder what I need to do to get on that roster; I’d like to get my gazebo painted.

We have communion once a month, too, just like regular church, and we should, because we are all “one bread.” However, there is a small problem. I found out the woman named Lenore has AIDS. And we use a common cup for communion. So I could avoid the situation, I busied myself with my daughter, took her to the washroom, then out to the yard to play while the others finished communion. What was Brother Alfred thinking? He says Lenore isn’t welcome at the regular church, that she doesn’t feel comfortable there. He says we need to welcome her, and maybe Agape in Action’s only purpose is for her sake.

I don’t know. I don’t want to share the cup with her. I should have been asked.

I know the Church isn’t about institutions and rules and programs. It’s about people. And love. And just being. Being there for each other.

But it’s hard.

I wonder what Miss Emily is up to these days.

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This article has been read 1237 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/07/07
This is very, VERY thought-provoking - so much depth. I will be thinking on this one for a long time.
Karen Wilber12/07/07
Oh wow! There's a lot of stuff in here to think about. This didn't go where I thought it would - but I like where it went because it was real. We're never going to find that "perfect" church. Life's too messy. I have a feeling that if I read this again later - I'd get another message too. Well done.
Temple Miller12/09/07
Great, though unexpected, lesson. Good story!
william price12/09/07
This story would work for the new topic as well. Very honest, crisp, no doubt how you feel, writing. Home Group has many definitions and you defined yours expertly. God bless.
Catrina Bradley 12/09/07
Very cool. A selfish streak runs through the MC's narrative of what church is really all about, becoming more apparent with every paragraph. I get a feeling she is unsaved, but seeking. Great characterization. Really nice job. (This would work equally as well for "The Church.)
Jan Ackerson 12/10/07
Honestly, I wonder what many, many Christians would do in the same situation!

I love this narrator's voice...she's wry and ironic, and she doesn't even know it, which adds another layer of irony...
LauraLee Shaw12/12/07
I love your title and the authenticity of your MC. Great stuff!
Sara Harricharan 12/12/07
Your first sentence is a real grabber and the rest didn't disappoint! I like your title, it fits here and the end will keep me thinking for awhile. Thank you for sharing this piece. ^_^
Tim Pickl12/12/07
Living outside of the box: There's no place like...agape in action! Thanks for sharing your heart.
Paula Titus 12/12/07
Honesty sings its song in this piece. Brilliant writing.
Patty Wysong12/12/07
Oh, what a twist! I loved the voice, but it was sad/sobering at the same time. Thought provoking...
LaNaye Perkins12/12/07
Very unusual and thought provoking story. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 12/13/07
Loren T. Lowery12/13/07
I can see why this won. It has a message that literaly stings the soul with its barbed truth. Agape in Action, the title could not be more perfect, nor the placement of your win! Congratulations.
Debbie Roome 12/13/07
Well done on your 1st. Excellent story and the last line is perfect.
Kristen Hester12/13/07
Congratulations on 1st place. Well done. I'll be thinking on this one for a while.
Dee Yoder 12/13/07
Wow. Ann, such a message in this entry...I have to think about this and read this again! Congratulations on your EC!
Sheri Gordon12/13/07
Congratulations on your 1st place. There is a lot to ponder here. This was going along nicely then -- WAM. The twist is very thought-provoking. Very good writing.
Johnna Stein12/14/07
I feel like I've met your MC before; she seems so real! Sometimes it is hard to be church and hard to be in church . Thanks for showing such an honest portrayal of the struggle.