It's been nearly a year since I attended church at a family ward. Today, though, I went with my parents to church, and I noticed some things I hadn't paid much attention to before:
- It's extremely cold.
In my opinion, all public buildings are cold, but because there are old people and pregnant women aplenty in family wards, I think those buildings are especially cold. I had to borrow my dad's suit jacket the whole time . . . So much for putting effort into my outfit; no one could even see it with the jacket on!
- It's extremely loud.
Everyone knows young single adult wards are quiet, but not a lot of people realize that branches are also fairly quiet, especially when it's a branch with a dearth of young families. I spent most of my life attending that kind of branch, so family wards are louder to me than to other people, I think.
- People are not especially welcoming.
This makes sense to me. Most family wards cater to the needs of families with young children because by and large, that's what comprises a ward -- young families. Parents are so consumed with successfully rearing their children that they become very insular. This is understandable, of course, but markedly different from the openness and friendliness of young single adult wards, where gregariousness and extraversion seem to be the ideal personality traits.
- Sunday school lessons are about the basics.
In a young single adult ward, you can expect that nearly all of the members are there because they really want to be, and not only are these members present, they are remarkably on top of things. Many are enrolled in school or working full-time and generally seem to be smart as whips. In family wards -- and especially in family branches -- members are all over the board in terms of their commitment to the gospel and the Church. Some are there for the welfare program; some are there because they're teenagers and their parents make them go; some are teeny-tiny kids who don't know how to read yet; and some are old and can't hear much or stay awake for very long. Consequently, lessons are often about the essentials of the gospel. People in family wards just don't have the time or mental energy to devote to discussing the details of the gospel. It's an interesting balance to me -- I mean, on one hand, I like sticking to gospel essentials, but on the other, I like lively discussions that deepen my understanding of the gospel and give complexity to my testimony.
In about five months, I'll attend a family ward full-time. (I should be there right now, actually, but I have my reasons for staying in my local young single adult ward.) I'm not scared to go. I may be a bit anxious, as I think it'll be harder to make friends . . . But mostly I will be sad, I think -- sad at the prospect of finding a place in a world where there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for unmarried folks. I'll keep you posted, of course, on what happens.
For now, I'll be on the lookout for Sunday-worthy coats and jackets. :/
Thing I'm thankful for: Cadbury Creme Eggs!