Here & now: Jake Penny
It’s not easy being ‘between churches’, says Jake Penny
I’m ‘between churches’, as the euphemism goes. As much as I would love to be involved in a church community I could write about, since I moved for university there have been changes which mean that it is taking longer than had hoped to find a place that feels right for me. I graduated this summer, and as I prepare to move again for my master’s degree, the possibility of still trying to find the church I’m headed towards is worrying.
It has been difficult to find the same sense of place that I had when I wrote for this column about my conversion (Reform, October 2019). I joined the church at a low point in my life, but church life helped me out of a long period of Autistic burnout. I will always be grateful for how welcoming and affirming my local URC was and remains; when I go back it is lovely to be greeted by so many friendly faces.
I quickly became involved in the community work at church, volunteering at the food bank with people from other churches. It was hard to leave without feeling angry with the government, the council, or the whole world. Usually this was not for personal reasons – the work was often emotional as we gave out the boxes of food – but sometimes the questions I was presented with made me very uncomfortable…
Jake Penny is an MA student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
This is an extract from an article published in the September 2022 edition of Reform