I missed the bus to Canterbury on Sunday by twenty seconds. I ended up going to Birchington Baptist, the little village church not far from Dad’s. The first time we went there, we had Christina with us. There wasn’t much of a kids program to speak of. There still isn’t. “We’ve succeeded where the government hasn’t in getting class sizes down,” the pastor joked last Sunday, “It’s a success story.” I settled in to worship with these strangers from a different country than my own. I didn’t know a soul, but some of them remembered me from previous visits. One of them even knew my Dad. She belongs to the legion and had phoned my Dad to offer help, even though the offer was rejected. Afterwards, the pastor came over and talked. He seemed genuinely interested. He offered to visit my Dad and gave me his home address and phone number. He preached a great sermon but you could tell that he wasn’t there just because he is a good preacher. He is there because he loves the people he is serving. It’s the sort of church where you’re not impressed by the things that don’t matter. There is no live music. I think they have one of those digital hymnals that plays a recorded version of the songs. Nothing flashy. They know they are not flashy. The pastor was refreshingly honest in a lot of what he said. After he joked about the small kid’s classes, he prayed that God would teach them how to reach younger people. Every time I go they are talking about what they are going to do to serve the community next. They weren’t pretending and didn’t try to act as if they had it all figured out. I don’t want to glorify them in a way that was unrealistic, but I do want to say that I worshiped God with these people on Sunday. I’m glad I missed the cathedral in the end, because I was reminded that God is alive, maybe most active, in places we will never read about in the books or hear about in the conferences. He is alive in churches that are genuinely loving and humble, doing all that they can to care for their communities even when nobody else is paying attention. It was a privilege to be one of them for a Sunday.