The problem with going to a local church is that you tend to turn up late. At least, that our experience. The closer you are geographically, the more last minute you make the dash down the road to the pew.
On the other hand, we've discovered that a good thing about one local church is that it has a park nearby. Which means that if the weather's good, we can have fun with Littl'un on the swings (not locked up!) and the climbing frame, as well as watching the planes coming in low to land at Belfast City Airport, before darting across the road to settle down for the service. (The output from one service illustrated below.)
Of course, perhaps God is more Sabbatarian than I reckon ... this morning we were hoodwinked by the blazing sunshine we saw out the window at breakfast. So we headed down to the park a bit earlier than normal. But after a swing, twirl on the roundabout, and a rock on the springy-creatures, it was fr-fr-freezing. So we nipped up to local caff - a really decent wee greasy spoon - for a cup of tea and a slice of bread and jam for Littl'un.
But returning down the road to church, I glanced at my watch as we turned in through the gate. 11:31am. A minute late. Up to the door. Pushed it. Locked. Same on the other side. Same on all the doors. And it took a few good knocks on the door before someone heard, found the key, and let us in out of the cold to a warm welcome inside.
Perhaps our misfortune was linked with today being marked as Reformation Sunday - marking the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg back in 1517. Though it did bring about the interesting observation (and I re-phrase slightly) that perhaps the Protestant church today is in need of a second reformation!
While were on the subject of religion, the BBC's Director General Mark Thompson gave a lecture for Theos (a public theology think tank) a couple of weeks ago. It makes for fascinating reading or listening as he ponders the relationship between religion and the media, touching on successes like Manchester Passion and controversies like the Jerry Springer Opera.