We've attended the same church since before we got engaged, but that was right after Hurricane Katrina hit our area, closing dozens of churches and scattering congregations. It was slim pickings, but we found a church we liked on the West Bank. It was a half hour drive, but it was worth it then.
As the years passed, the church changed. The pastor resigned and moved away; during a year-long hunt for a new pastor the congregation shrunk. Military families were transferred and young people found jobs and moved. By this summer, the congregation was half the size it used to be, and the average age was about fifty! Besides that, the city had been changing, too. Churches reopened or sprung up closer to us, and we started looking around.
We found a church we're happy with, and get this - it's less than a mile away on St Charles avenue. When the weather was (briefly) cool and nice a few weeks ago, we walked to church. Going to church in our neighborhood has had a huge impact on our quality of life - but it has also fostered a sense of community our last church lacked. We were too spread out. This group is a bunch of neighbors, and I like that.
I must say I love having my Sunday mornings back thanks to a closer church and later start to the service. This Sunday I was doing hill sprints on the levee at 9:00 am. By 10:00 am I was in a pew! Now that's something to say hallelujah to!