Posts Tagged ‘RISE’


Greetings readers.

On a non-political note, I’m pleased to announce that today marks my one year anniversary of attending the RISE church in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  Although the reasons which first brought me to this faith community no longer keep me there,  during this last year I’ve found an incredible group of individuals including Amanda, the amazing pastor of RISE.  We’ve had our share of joy and sorrows, our challenges and our triumphs.  We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve learned, and we’ve grown.  Although we come with our own histories and stories, we are bound together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Although I’ve invited you before, for those who live in the Harrisonburg area looking for a church, perhaps RISE would be a good fit for you.  Maybe I’ll see you next Sunday at 10 AM at the Court Square Theater.  Or if you’re not into that whole Sunday morning thing, you could try Tuesday nights with RAISE.

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This morning, Amanda, the pastor of RISE in Harrisonburg, crafted the following video for the service.  Personally, I found its message to be quite powerful. 

As we wrestle with the countless struggles of life, in how many moments are our emotions overwhelmed by fear?  I, for one, certainly can relate.  Among the various types of fear, there is the fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, and fear spawned by hate.  Unfortunately, like so many areas of existance, our political environment is dominated by these fears as well.

So, as Amanda suggests, is love stronger than fear?  For those in the Harrisonburg area, I encourage you to join us as we explore this question together.  You can do so for the next several Sundays at the Court Square Theater in downtown Harrisonburg starting around 10 AM.

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RISESince November of last year, I have been attending a Methodist church in downtown Harrisonburg called RISE.  For those who know me, this news may seem a bit odd; after all, I am not a Methodist and still am a member of a local Presbyterian church.  So what would draw me to this church?  Well, like a playwright or a musician, my actions were inspired by a woman.

Now, in truth, my church attendance in recent years has been a bit spotty.  Since coming to the realization that I was no longer a Calvinist, I dabbled in a few other churches, including the Seventh Day Adventists, but nothing ever lasted for more than a month or two.  My last roommate at William & Mary, who has since become a Methodist minister in the northern Shenandoah Valley, had been encouraging me to rejoin a church community, but the problem was that my faith no longer fit neatly into a preformed denomination.

Although I was never specifically invited to RISE, I decided to attend my first service back in November as a way to show this friend that I cared for her.  In the weeks and months that followed, our relationship flourished, was snuffed out, rose again from the ashes, and has now, unfortunately, disintegrated completely.

I’m not going to into the details of what happened here, but I will say that it has been one of the most difficult times in my life. The joy of discovering someone who became so special to me only to lose everything, to find my hopes and dreams that I had been building high into the clouds suddenly collapse into a heap of useless rubble was almost more pain than I could bear.

And yet, through these difficult trials, much like my friends, RISE has been there for me.  It is much more than mere church service every Sunday; it is a group of fine individuals who genuinely care about others, who ask me how things have been going, who know of the trials I’ve suffered, and who have prayed with me through the whole ordeal.  They have given me the strength to carry on when I was at my lowest and, as you might imagine, I am immensely grateful.

So what’s the take home message for you, my good reader? Although there is great merit in studying the scriptures on your own, as I have done most nights before bed for more years that I can remember, my advice is to similarly find a supportive religious community that you too can call home.  Sure, you may have theological differences, I still don’t consider myself a Methodist, but that doesn’t mean that one cannot find and forge strong bonds with new brothers and sisters in Christ.

In closing, although my Facebook friends have already heard this song, I’d like to share a bit of music I listen to when I’m sad or my faith needs a little bolstering.  Given that RISE plays contemporary music, maybe one day they will play this one as well.

Whatever dark trial you maybe be facing today, or a new challenge that arises tomorrow, it is likely that you too could benefit from the folks who meet in the theater behind Capital Ale in downtown Harrisonburg.  Perhaps a community like RISE will give you the support you need to endure.

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