CHURCH VISIT # 8:
Church visit # 8 took place on 17 September 2006.
One of the first things I noted about this church visit was how great it was to be able to walk to the church from our home! That aspect of "local church" had escaped me, but as we walked up the street to the church, I told my wife "this is how it ought to be for everyone. Everyone ought to be able to walk to church, even if church is just in a neighbor's house."
Well, this church was a well-established Episcopal church, and we enjoyed our experience there very much.
Naturally, the service was very structured and we spent a good bit of time in "The Book of Common Prayer." I am not used to so much "formula," but the words we were speaking and singing were very powerful and meaningful.
The musicians were three guitarists and a flautist/percussionist, and one of the guitarists also played the harmonica (a la Bob Dylan). We found out later that this was a rare event. Usually, the music is led by an organist. Good stuff, though!
The sermon was very good, if a bit on the "intellectual" side. The main thrust was an examination of "hope" in terms of "optimistic expectation" (of things turning out the way we "hope" they will) and "radical acceptance" (of the world being in God's control despite appearances to the contrary).
After the service there was an informal "social hour" in the house next door (used by the church for fellowship, Bible study classes, offices, etc.).
All in all, it was a pleasant experience; not boring, not impersonal, not contrived - it was interesting, vibrant, real.