Collecting Churches in My Walkable Neighborhood

I collected a dozen churches on my 65-minute walk last Sunday afternoon.

I did it for health reasons, really. After a full weekend of reading and writing, I felt like I'd been sitting still so long I was practically growing sprouts, like a potato left in the pantry too long.

So, with a mighty heave, I yanked my taproot off the couch and stumbled out into the 45-degree sunshine — a welcome warmup after a winter of polar vortices.

Dressed all in black, from jacket to flats, I soaked up the relative heat and set off on a stroll through my Heritage Hill neighborhood and all around the east and southeast parts of downtown Grand Rapids. 

There were so many church spires piercing the gray-blue sky, and it was Sunday, the Christian day of worship, so I decided to collect as many churches on my walk as I could find in an hour.

Unexpectedly, the experience began to feel like an act of worship the longer I walked and the more denominations I found. The sidewalk converted to a sanctuary, and the churches were my vicars, pointing me to their true purpose.

Here's a little map-and-key I made showing the churches on my route. 

I found myself thinking I could launch a quest to visit these churches' worship services (except the one that's an apartment building now) so I could tell you — and me — what makes them all different. It would be like an adventure in religious journalism. And what a better place to worship than in my own neighborhood?

Hmm. I think my bucket list just got a little longer.

Read more posts in the Storytelling Sunday series here.

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