We have continued to attend the Mennonite church for four weeks now. We have really appreciated the church's values related to serving and helping others, practicing evangelism in very physical, tangible ways. We continue to enjoy the worship services, and love that they are in tune with the spiritual seasons of the global church, currently delving into the meaning of Lent. There are so many things that make us want to be a part of this church, and we are so inspired by its mission and vision.
Attending this church has been a big struggle for me, however, because I have been so turned off by the general lack of friendliness. Not once on a Sunday morning has someone approached us to introduce themselves are ask who we are. We even went to an Ash Wednesday service last week that had 20 or so people there, and were obviously new faces (made more obvious by an embarrassingly talkative toddler who also seemed unwelcome) and afterward NO ONE spoke to us except the pastor! I couldn't believe it.
Yesterday, we went to a newcomer's lunch hosted by a young couple with a new baby. This couple was very nice and warm, and there were several other people from the church there as well. Surprisingly, the only other people who introduced themselves and were interested in chatting were the other new people-- the church people (apart from the hosts) were very standoff-ish. Of course, I went right up to them and introduced myself and asked them some questions, but the interest did not seem to be mutual. We are glad to at least have some faces we recognize and can say hello to on Sundays during that awkward time after the service, even if they are all newbies as well.
After talking to several people about their experiences in Mennonite churches, it sounds like the subculture is very tight-knit and hard to break into. However, once we are IN, they say, it's a really great, close community to be a part of! So we plan to persevere indefinitely. I'm hoping that the toughest part is over, but we'll keep you posted.