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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Rempel

Smells Like Church

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

After 36 hours it was finally ready to eat. We had watched youtube videos, read blogs, and spent hours on FaceTime with my brother who carefully coached us newbies through the meticulous art of sourdough. We had carefully measured, mixed, stretch and folded, scored and finally baked the bread. I held the freshly cut sourdough to my daughter's face, she breathed in deeply.

"Ahhh...smells like church!"

Our church is a unique community of people. Its part middle to upper class people, part addicted and street entrenched people, and everything in-between. We come together to pursue truth, in an atmosphere of love, leaving judgement at the door. Its quite something to behold. We gather throughout the week at our coffee shop, and on Sundays to worship and eat breakfast together. Sundays smell like sourdough bread (donated from a local bakery), pancakes, sausages, urine and stale alcohol.

Its a unique smell that you never quite get used to. (My family has actually had to take a break from regular Sunday attendance from our church because the smell was too triggering for our youngest daughter.)


I wish all churches smelled like our church.

Like dirty feet and open wounds.

Like freshly baked bread and food for those who need it.

I wish all churches smelled like our church.

Sometimes our church smells like burning sage.

Sometimes our church smells like weed.

I wish all churches smelled like our church.

Like egg-salad sandwiches and donated pastries.

Like urine, sweat and blood.

Sometimes I wish all churches smelled like our church.

But other times I think,


For the needs of the vulnerable are complex.

The children and the elderly,

and people with diverse abilities

They may not like the smell of our church.

God's heart is for all

His church is to welcome all

His home is to feel like home

to all

So whatever your church smells like

I hope it smells like love

I hope it smells like Jesus

and I hope it smells like good, crunchy, hard-laboured-over sourdough bread.

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