One of the things I love most about the Episcopal Church is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can go to an Episcopal Church and say the same words, hear the same readings, pray the same prayers, and feel just as at home as you would in your home church.
This fact has been a great comfort to me here in San Pedro Sula, because through all of these new experiences, new language, new amazing people, I can go to church and feel a sense of stability, because I know, with a few exceptions, what the service will be like.
When the YASC group met for orientation, we discussed at great length finding stability and a sense of calm during this year through prayer, and while I have prayers that I like, it’s still really nice to go to church and know what’s going on.
There are a few different things that really stand out to me, however. At Buen Pastor, my church here in San Pedro, there is an incredible amount of young people. I had the pleasure of attending a youth group meeting last week and the ages spanned from about 12 to people in their late 20s. It was such an all-inclusive group.
They pass the peace to every single person in the church. This has been something consistent I’ve found in all the churches I’ve attended in Honduras, (3, for those of you who are wondering. It’s a reasonable sample size) and I love it. It’s not just the people who are surrounding you; it is every person in the church. The clergy come out into the congregation, and the musicians play energetic music as all the people intermingle. It’s so joyful!
There is something particular about Buen Pastor that surprised me on my first Sunday. At the offertory, the priest places the offering baskets on the steps in front of the altar. He then asks people to make their way up to altar to give whatever they can to the church. He tells them not to worry about what they can and cannot give, that anything and everything is a blessing. And every single person in the church walked up there. Every single person. They made the conscious decision to move from their seats and give to their church. It was something I had never seen before. I think there were people who didn’t put anything in the basket, but to me, it seemed like an acknowledgement of the importance of the church in their lives. I think that’s pretty awesome.
On another note, I start school tomorrow. Stay tuned =)