My Second Home


Church is my second space – the other House that I love and long for.

By Angela Doell | Twitter: @adoell

Home is my happy place. There are few things sweeter for this hardcore-homebody than the exhale of walking through our front door to the barefoot communion of home and family.


I wear a tattoo on my wrist of a swallow, an image that traditionally represented home on the horizon for sailors at sea. Swallows don’t often venture far from the nest, and to spy one at sea meant land was close. Home is the prize.

There’s another home that also has my heart.


Church is my second space – the other House that I love and long for. My favourite part of our foyer is the huge sign that says WELCOME HOME, and that’s truly how I feel when our family rolls in.

What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this, Always dreamed of a room in your house, where I could sing for joy to God-alive! Birds find nooks and crannies in your house, sparrows and swallows make nests there. They lay their eggs and raise their young, singing their songs in the place where we worship. God -of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God! How blessed they are to live and sing there! (Psalm 84:1-4 MSG)

In the House of God I’ve discovered what community looks like. I’ve witnessed the miracle of freedom here, of diverse lives knit together, hopes birthed and sorrows shared. It’s here that I met the man of my dreams in the foyer, and later met him at the altar, wearing a white dress and surrounded by the whole congregation. Here our newborns made their social début, passed around and returned to me smelling of a mix of perfumes and pure love. We’ve made this adopted family our own, choosing to put down roots and let our hearts be bound, and broken.

God has met me here … through my tears in worship at the front of a song-filled sanctuary, and in silent private moments. It’s here that I first discovered my own voice, hushing fear to step onto the platform to speak, because He’d gently led me there. And in all my shaky vulnerability, I watched the Church rally and reflect the grace of God to me. We’re in it together, and they are my people.

Just as home life is messy, this House isn’t perfect. Heaven and all its glory is still a far way off, but I can taste it, like how those sailors glimpsed home on the horizon. I’ve had a peek at Heaven, here in the assembly. I cherish the words of Robert Fergusson in describing the Church, “She stands imperfect but perfection resides within her. She is flawed but is washed with forgiveness.”

I’m pretty sure we’re going to be working out the kinks until Jesus comes, and we’re all definitely a crew of complicated people … But when I’m home, loved and known in this sacred space, I am energized and encouraged for the mission of everyday life. The gathering energizes us to scatter: carriers of His love to our neighbourhoods and community.

Dear SheLoves friends, we’d love to know:

  • What qualities or experiences in your church make it feel like home?
  • How much do you relate to Angela’s church experience of “put[ting) down roots and let[ting] our hearts be bound, and broken”?


About Angela:

Angela and her husband Rod have been married for 18 years and they have two children, Madison (17) and Miller (13). Angela serves as a pastor at Relate Church in Surrey, BC. She loves finding beauty in everyday life and is passionate about communicating the grace, hope and reality of a living Jesus.