July 30th, 2017
Since leaving my position where I worked every Sunday, I have had the opportunity to try many different churches. I am really enjoying the experience of trying new styles of worship. So far I have been to the Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and today, what I think was a non-denominational church.
I've been intrigued by this one for a while because they meet in the local movie theater. That just seemed fun to me. When I arrived, the group gathered was small but mighty, and very welcoming. They said right off the bat in the announcements (done movie preview style on the screen) that the service would last about 80 minutes. That made my inner Methodist cringe (we worship for 60 minutes, no longer!), and of course it actually ended up being about 90 minutes total.
But the thing that really threw me off, and I couldn't quite make peace with, was the way they served communion.
Now, on the one hand, if they do communion every week, I like that. I think that is is one way the Methodists fall very short (tending to only serve communion once a month). On the other hand, this style of communion felt very lacking in well...the community part. When it came to that point in the service praise music was played (wonderful band, excellent singing), and we were told to partake of our elements when we felt moved. No liturgical blessing of the elements, no community in the partaking other than standing in the same room as other people. It felt a little...empty to me. I missed someone handing me the elements, telling me it is the body and blood of Christ, physically reminding me that I am loved by God. Doing it alone felt lonely.
The sermon was much better than I expected, and despite so much of the service being foreign to me, I quite enjoyed it. I might even venture back again some Sunday. But until then, I have a lot more churches in town to check out !