Transitioning From “High” to “Low” Church

My first memories of church include the fog of incense and the sound of bells ringing throughout the stone Nave. I grew up going to a high church where smells and bells were the norm and church holidays required pomp and celebration. I was an acolyte beginning at age nine and slowly graduated up the ranks to thurifer in high school. My friends and I would compete for chances to do 360s and argue over who made the church smokier.

One of the hardest transitions for me has been adjusting to church life at St. Andrew’s. I still hear the bells during the blessing of the bread and wine, I’m still shocked when there’s only one crucifer walking both the choir and the clergy to their places. Slowly, I’m adjusting to the services that have different traditions to the ones I grew up with.

I didn’t attend church in college because both Episcopal churches near me weren’t the high church I was used to. Branching out is not a strength of mine; I dislike change yet frequently feel restless if I let my life stand still too long. My time at Grace on the Hill is challenging me everyday. I’m rarely here stagnant, there’s too much to do and see, but it’s forcing me to thrust myself into change and the unknown.

I’m embracing change and learning to appreciate the different traditions and the beauty, tranquility, and history of St. Andrew’s.

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