Friday, September 14, 2012
United Methodist Review
I had attended a few "Celebrate Recovery" meetings at this church, although the meetings were in a small outbuilding. That building has since been torn down to make room for a new expansion of the facility. It's now quite a large complex, but it's fairly land-locked, and it's on a busy avenue, so getting in and out and parking are a challenge. Oh, I also attended one Dave Ramsey class here.
We drove to the church and there was a policeman in the road directing traffic. Driving through the parking lot we were guided along by parking attendants in vests using walkie-talkies. A sign instructed visitors to go to a designated spot near the church entrance. As we parked a man in a suit made his way quickly from the church to our car to greet us. He was overly eager, like a used care salesman, asking us what brought us here, giving us literature, explaining the two services that were available, and telling us to fill out the visitor's card and bring it somewhere after church for a free gift.
We decided to go to the "traditional" service since we felt that it would give us a better taste of United Methodism. The sanctuary was very full, and was a mixture of ages, leaning toward older. There was a fine choir, and hand bell choir. There was a very positive spirit. Somehow I was able to intuit that these folks were very happy with their church and got along well with each other.
There were traditional hymns, but also some old-time folksy songs, like What a Friend we have in Jesus and Fairest Lord Jesus. Although I was familiar with those type of camp-meeting songs from my childhood, they seemed oddly out of place here, like a relic of the past that was being artificially kept alive.
A female pastor led the whole service. The sermon was entertaining and easy to relate to. She said that praying was not like going on amazon.com and ordering something to your specifications.
We celebrated communion by walking down the aisle to pick up a piece from a loaf of bread, then further down the line dipping it in wine (or Welches?) and eating.
Overall, the experience was uplifting, and when I was leaving I thought I would enjoy going back someday.