Q & R: church won’t accept us, where do we start?

Am really struggling to find Jesus in church, find meditating on the bible & prayer, reading books like yours ‘n doing voluntary outreach work v fulfilling…& then i go to church/bible study..& i just cant find Him, there’s so much noise & being told we’re sinners ‘n what to believe.. you try to communicate what you feel but people just look at you like you’re mad.
We also had a bad experience at church – my husband & i were turned down as members as my husband isn’t prepared to do the ABC & isn’t able to articulate what Jesus means to him, he did nearly cry when he had to give his testimony.. but that didn’t enable them to tick their membership boxes, so it was a no
I am thinking of starting my own group, where people who are interested God, but have fragile hearts can have a safe place to chew the cud, without having to “visit hospital”, what do you think & where would i start ?

Here’s a reply …

Thanks for your note. It breaks my heart to think about your husband’s experience, but sadly, according to my inbox, this sort of thing is very common. On the one hand, we have people desiring to be part of a church, to deepen their capacity to love God and others, and a desire to be honest about their questions and doubts … and on the other hand, we have sincere church leaders who are trying to faithfully uphold the standards of inclusion/exclusion they have been taught, and probably still believe are right and necessary. Heartbreaking on all sides … and you wonder what Jesus (friend of sinners, etc.) feels as the disciples send the little children away!
I should have included your note with one a few days ago, because my suspicion is that you could experiment with one of the ecclesial communities I mentioned there. Your note adds motivation to me to try to offer some help … pray for me about this, OK?
But as for a good place to start: why don’t you get a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, and experiment with reading vespers or compline together? Or get Common Prayer, put together by some friends of mine for whom I have huge respect … It’s full of the kinds of resources you need.