I decided to attend church here in Bogota, both because I am a Christian, and because I really need to immerse myself in the culture and make friends and get to know people. I am not good at making friends; it gets harder as I get older. When I moved to London with my daughter it was easier because I had to talk with the parents of her friends, so we naturally became friends. Kids are great at making friends and they pull you along.
I was not sure what to expect from the church. I remember attending churches when we lived in Mexico, so I had that memory, but times have changed since the 80’s! I had looked up some churches online before coming to Colombia so that I had a few written down to go to.
It is hard being a Christian in America – I hesitate to tell people that I am a Christian because of the religious right movement. I don’t like organized religion, so I go to a church that is non-denominational. I believe that my beliefs are mine and I have no right to tell others what to believe or do, nor do they have that right towards me! I want to find a church like that here. Both of the churches I found are kind of far away. They are in north Bogota.
I decided to try the church that is a Vineyard type church since that is the type of church I attend in the U.S. The church was called La Vina. I had messaged the church to see what time the service started, as it wasn’t posted on their page. They messaged back that the service started at 10:30. So I got up and ready with plenty of time to spare since I wasn’t sure how the buses worked on Sunday and how far I would have to walk. The bus stop was about 20 minutes away from the church so I walked slowly and bought a juice from a stand as I was walking. There are juice stands on most every corner. The juices here are amazing! They are so fresh and there are all kinds of fruits and juice mixes. I had a carrot and orange juice. The walk was relaxing on Sunday as the road was closed on one side and there were people out riding their bikes and walking on the road.
When I got to the building I was surprised that there was no one around and that the door was closed. I rang a bell beside the door and waited for a while. A woman finally answered the door and I could see past her that there was no one inside. I asked her if this was La Vina church. She said yes. I asked her what time the church started. She told me 10:30. I showed her the time, she said maybe 11:00. I asked if I should come back, and she said yes and closed the door! It was so very weird and cold and unwelcoming.
I decided to try to go to the other church. I definitely don’t want to go to a church that is so cold and uninviting. I got an uber to go to the church called Vida Bogota. The service was held in a gymnasium in a Colegio on Carrera Septima. I went up the stairs and was immediately welcomed by a lady there. She was nice and thoughtful. She walked me into a community room where people were drinking coffee and chatting. She introduced me to several people. When it was time for the service to start, she came back and walked me into the service.
Now the weirdness begins! There was a video of an American disco song playing on big screens as people came in and sat down. There was a stage in the front (like many contemporary churches I’ve been too), but… then strobe lights came on and dry ice came over the stage and the band began to play. The worship songs were very monotone and repetitive and had no tune. The songs sounded exactly the same with different words.
The service was good, the people were friendly, and they took my information to contact me about small groups I could attend. All in all ok – they are convenient to get to and I need to make friends and the only thing that is a negative is the music thing. I can deal with that again – so I think I’ll give them another chance.