Attending a church for 3 months that was mostly made up of disgruntled ex-Amish and ex-Mennonites was 3 months too long. My parents were enamored with the “perfect family” persona that the church gave off.
When we arrived at the church, we were surprised that the church was segregated by gender. Women on one side with their little girls and nursing babies. Men on the other with the young boys.
We had always done things as a family and my parents weren’t keen on having our family separated in the church. They insisted on having us sit as a family. Because the church regulars sat in the segregated style, there wasn’t anywhere else for families to sit together except at the back of the church. We were told that if we wanted to sit as a family, it would need to be in the back on the hard fold out chairs. The padded pews were reserved for those that would segregate themselves from their families. It felt as though we were put in the back of the church on hard chairs as a punishment for not conforming.
It was interesting to note that the families that sat at the back also didn’t wear the “right” headcoverings and didn’t dress in the typical cape dresses of the Mennonite culture. We had heard from other families that when they came to the church, they were once at the back like we were. Over time, they adopted the dress and head covering style and eventually went to the segregated sides of the church. It was as if it was a conspiracy to make sure that all of us “family sitters” were put back there to see the way it was “supposed to be” from behind. Like sitting in the segregated sides of the church was something we had to work toward and attain.It seemed like the loyalists at the church just brought their Mennonite and Amish bondage with them and just put a new name on it. They traded one set of shackles for another.
We may have only been there for 3 months, but it was 3 months too long.
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