“God has never been to Rochester,” said my friend, David. Him and his wife laughed in solidarity; I offered a nervous snicker.
Back in June, Megan and I flew over to search for apartments—at that point, the only people we knew on this side of the continent were these two people who have since left the area due to finishing school; border-lined waifs, we now know no one.
“God has never been to Rochester,” he said. The comment stuck. Sure, he was joking, but it stuck.
Where the hell am I moving to? Where am I taking my wife? These thoughts, until recently even, erupted from the shadows and followed me as such.
I remember driving around, on that same trip, witnessing a worn-down and bruised city. A town, much like Detroit, whose rarefied Kodak Towers have since fallen into the dreck, pulling almost everyone else with it.
Has God ever been to Rochester?
The Answer (It’s Yes)
In the four-ish days we’ve been here, the weather has alternated more than I can keep track: humid, rainy-as-Hell (umbrellas are a must), thunder and lightning, sunny-sky-beautiful.
Right now, it’s nice. The sun is out, a few clouds giving shade.
We attended a church today. YES, I know. Mr. Anti-Church went to church. So sue me (please don’t sue me). It was a Grace PCA church, recommended by Tony from A Way With Words—our only known soul on the East—and it was lovely. The people were wonderful, warm, and genuine.
I even liked the pastor. In our few minutes of conversation, I withheld my personal opinions about how he should find a different job.
Him and his wife were incredibly nice, as was everyone we met, and I think we’re going to go back.
Why am I telling you this? Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to write about changing the modern church, only to dive into its arms first thing?
I suppose you’ve got a point.
Rochester, NY, Baby
My initial worries of the area have since fallen away; I’m falling in love with Rochester. So far, it’s a great town with great people. We live in an area called East Ave (near/or Park Ave). It’s absolutely gorgeous. We ordered pizza the other night, and I almost couldn’t stop eating it.
Does the town still have its issues? Does it still scare me? Does driving here make absolutely no sense? Yes, but I love Rochester’s potential; I love its heart, and every day feels a little bit more like home.
If you’d be willing:
Continued prayer for friends, jobs, closeness to God, church issues, and cheap furniture.
I followed your blog because I like what your writing about but also me and my husband or right in the middle if change and a move. Good luck we moved this weekend and change can seem so big at times. Keep writing, ill keep reading and it helps keep it all in perspective.
Please pardon the misplaced words auto correct and typing in a car is unforgiving at times.
Thanks for the encouragement! It’s nice to hear from someone doing the same thing. Where are you moving to again?
Nah, it’s not hypocritical. You can hate and love things about a person, and about an institution. Ambivalence isn’t hypocrisy, nor is being willing to give things you’ve denounced another chance. That’s grace.
Will absolutely pray for you! And I had a thought yesterday thinking about you: Boy, I cannot wait for his stories around January/February! (FEET of snow!)
Haha, lets just say I’m not looking forward to February. Thanks for the prayers!
Believe me, my friend, the church needs prophetic voices within its sanctuary just as much, if not more, than on the outside. It was great to see you & Megan today. Hope to see you again soon.
Thanks again, Tony. I hope your trip back was smoother than the one over here. 🙂
So far, so good. We’re in Cleveland relaxing with some subs at our gate. It’s a beautiful day.
Will be praying for you
A childhood friend of mine, Matt Hess, lives in Rochester and teaches in an inner-city school. He’s one of the most intense people you’re ever likely to meet. I think he’s involved with Hispanic CMA churches. If you meet him tell him hi from Tim.
Will do! Thanks for the comment.
I’m glad you’re beginning to like Rochester! Perhaps one of these days I’ll have the opportunity to meet you and Megan in NY. I return to Corning with some frequency to see family.
That would be great. I saw a sign on the freeway which apparently goes to Corning, today! If you ever head this way, grab my email off of the ‘About Me’ page and let me know.
Just discovered your blog. what I love: your honesty and humble truths. Thanks and blessings to you both in Rochester.
Thank you kindly!
The winter isn’t that bad here. It’s really only terrible in the first few weeks of January and then it thaws right out.
Thanks, Dave! I have a feeling the winter is just something you get used to, and something you just get through. It snowed a lot in North Idaho (where we’re from), and it’s the same over there.
Park Ave is where it’s at (yes, that’s pretty much it)! Take your wife to Parkleigh, it’s adorable! And Lakeshore Community Church (in Greece) is nice too for the non-uber-religious folk as well 🙂
Thanks for the suggestions. We will check all of those out!