An Ode to Freedom

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On Sunday April 22nd my nephew Luke confirmed at the Freedom Lutheran church in rural Janesville MN.  My sister (his mother) and I were confirmed there, as was our father and our grandfather and many other members of my dad’s family.   While I’ve long since moved away, Freedom will always hold a special, if sometimes conflicted, place in my heart.

Freedom is a small congregation.  I think I was related to 2/3 of the folks attending this morning.  Granted, many of them were there because of Luke, but quite a few of them are regular members, and I would guess that on a typical Sunday I might be related to a solid 1/4 to 1/3 of the attendees.  There are a lot of family memories inside this church, including baptisms and confirmations and weddings and funerals.  The adjacent cemetery is the final resting place of a long list of family who were a big part of those memories.

For a time as an adult I lived very close to Freedom yet much to the chagrin of my dad (among others) I chose to attend services elsewhere.  I had a lot of reasons for that decision, too complicated to get into here.  I don’t regret choosing the church I did as it was a wonderful place for me during some of the darkest times in my life in a way that frankly, a church all my relatives attended simply could not have been.   But every Christmas Eve I was at Freedom watching my cousins in the children’s service.

When my husband Pat and I got married I moved to Iowa.  There were a lot of reasons why I was the one to move, including uncertainly with my employer at the time and he owning this home while I was renting.  I originally joined a local Lutheran church.  A couple of years ago I made the decision to leave the Lutheran church and join the Methodist church.  Again, I had a lot of complicated reasons for doing that, but again I am very happy with my choices and I know I’m doing what’s best for me and my faith journey.   But still, every Christmas Eve I’m at Freedom.  My niece is 6 and this Christmas Eve she will likely be the only family member in the children’s service.  Will I still go after she’s confirmed and I no longer have close family participating?  I can’t say for sure, but a big part of me says yes.

1 thought on “An Ode to Freedom

  1. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

    There is something about your “home” church that you will always appreciate as part of your faith journey and it’s always neat to go back to visit. I too have switched denominations from what I grew up in and while yes where I go now doesn’t fit my beliefs perfectly, neither does my home church. But those “roots” and my experiences along the way have helped me build my faith. And one thing I have witnessed by attending different churches during the years is that it really is the people that make the church.


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