Sunday, July 8, 2007
Church on the Island
It was time to get grounded again. I skimmed the yellow pages under churches and found Emmanual Methodist Church, listed amongst a mostly Catholic crowd. My interest was further peaked when Nicholas's school-mate's mom (who is involved in a same-sex partnership) invited us to the only Methodist church 'on island'. We arrived just in time on Sun. morning and as per their custom, we took our shoes off before entering the small sanctuary. We certainly stood out as we entered in an unavoidable raucous manner. We took one of several empty pews. The crowd smiled and we were asked to introduce ourselves. The crowd was a mix of Filipino, Korean, and North American. After the introduction, a loud welcoming chant followed, accompanied by tambourines, drums, and moroccas. We were adorned with shell necklaces as everyone clapped in unison. This was quite a welcome and I felt a huge lump in my throat. The pastor, Bud, was American and is completing his 4 year term in Saipan after 25 years in Hong Kong. A new pastor (and apparently a new building) are forthcoming in August. We have found a church!