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How was church today?

Discussion in 'Church Life' started by Mendalla, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Mendalla

    Mendalla Aspirant False Prophet

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    So, we haven't had one of these threads going for a while and I always found it interesting to see what other churches were up to. With the new church year under way for most congregations, thought it a good time to get a new one going (and I'm stickying it to keep it visible).

    How was your service today?

    Anything interesting or special?

    Did the topic or message or readings speak to you for some reason?

    And whatever else about your service you think we might find interesting. I'll kick off in the next post.
     
  2. Mendalla

    Mendalla Aspirant False Prophet

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    Today, we heard our new minister (a contract, part-time minister) in the pulpit for the first time. He's a UU minister doing a doctorate at Laurier so our quarter-time position fit his schedule nicely, I guess.

    The sermon was "Letting It Go" and was about truth and reconciliation. He hit most of the big social justice names, Gandhi, King Jr., Tutu, as well as looking at our own truth and reconciliation process in Canada over the residential schools. Good preacher and a good sermon. Looking forward to hearing more from him.

    I love the postlude our choir did and joined in myself.



    No, our choir is not that big (in fact, neither is our congregation) and we do not have an orchestra. Our love of the music more than made up for that, though.
     
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  3. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    So, I went to church for the first time in a long time.
    I won't get into the history of the "why", but, the situation was that I no longer felt comfortable in my church, but, felt like going to another church was deserting my church. I am still connected by PAR to my old church, even if my heart strings were hurting when present.

    So....I went to church today.
    I went to a church that I always figured would be the one that if I went that I would go to. They seemed to know how to do church even within the normal odd brokenness of church. Their theology is likely not where mine is, I didn't expect that the music would be what I wanted, but I hoped for a church that I could start to put down roots in or at least feel comfortable camping out in for a while.

    As it turned out, I got hugs from 2 friends within 10' of the entrance to the sanctuary, and sat with two more. I have been in the church to support bazaar, but had also been going to a board game night most fridays, and it seems a few of the folks from the church are regulars.
    I knew one women who volunteers at the hospital, and another person from Five Oaks, and so on, and so on.

    So, it was like walking into a place where it is already a bit of home.

    The music -- well, it isn't what I am used to, it is praise band style, and I find the lyrics a struggle, but, you know, I can live with them, and people enjoy singing them. I have met the minister before, but, hadn't heard him preach, and well, it was good. I found myself engaged & applying. I listened, and when my mind wandered off, that was my challenge, not the messages. The passing of the peace went on for ever, but it seemed to be honest and welcome. The youth were busy and active, and not in the sanctuary due to other items going on, and that was ok too.

    Funny thing about attending a church, especially if you know church dynamics and you also know a lot of people there. I was moving around the space, chatting with folks that I knew. Getting coffee, etc. I happened to see a table of elderly women who I don't know. As I was facing one of them, I saw one of them lean over to the other and stage-whisper "do you know her?" and nod her head towards me. The other looked concerned "no, I don't". You could see their brains a whirring. It was funny and cute.

    So, all in all, I found myself thinkin' "yeah, i can come back here". That is a nice change from walking out feeling every nerve has been jarred.

    I know that feeling is about "me". I don't lay it at the congregation or minister's feet. I own how I respond to church and the service, and if a member of a church; how the church functions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  4. Tabitha

    Tabitha journeying

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    Our church has been doing a theme. Today the theme was cosmos. Complete with a monty python song on the guitar. The theme was that we are part of something larger, God is creating, and everyhing is connected. Lovely service.
     
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  5. revsdd

    revsdd This place is hilarious sometimes. Enjoy.

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    Strange Sunday, completely lacking in energy. I didn't feel any myself, and I didn't feel any from the congregation. It happens now and then, although in the 15 months that I've been pastoring this church this is really the first Sunday that I've walked away not happy with the service. Ideally, in my opinion anyway, the pastor and congregation feed off each other - the congregation responds to me; I respond to the congregation. When that doesn't happen for some reason it's a struggle. I turned to my ministry partner toward the end of the service while the offering was being taken after she returned to the sanctuary after spending time with the children downstairs and said "I really just want to get the service done with. There's just no energy here for some reason." She nodded and said, "it happens." She's right.

    I did get some positive feedback about the sermon which I think was sincere - not the usual "nice sermon" as someone walks by you, but comments from people during lunch afterward who really did seem to have been impacted. I preached on 1 Timothy 6:6-19, basically on the subject of contentment and what a struggle it is to be content in a society which seems to tell us that we should always be wanting more and how hard it can be to avoid falling into the idolatry of letting our "stuff" control us.

    If you're interested, here's the text of the sermon: How To Use Wealth Wisely

    Or the video of the entire service: PVUC September 25

    Not my best Sunday, though. I think the written sermon was better than the preached sermon.

    We should have a thread like this every Sunday. I enjoyed the chance to debrief!
     
  6. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    I wonder if the energy sink was due to the topic and people considering their own lives.

    I know that I had a task to do regarding planning a bunch of work and you could feel the energy leave. Iny case there were things in reflection that I could have done, but a sermon is a different thing.

    I think that a sermon which makes me do hard reflection is a good thing
     
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  7. PilgrimsProgress

    PilgrimsProgress Well-Known Member

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    Re Pinga's comment about "heart strings hurting" at church.........

    Since my experience of this, I've been surprised how common this actually is. As I've largely reconciled with my situation - I've been thinking about why folks are often hurt in a church.
    It's often personality issues - but I suspect that we go to church with a given expectation that we'll be happy, contented, accepted, cared for, etc far more than in most situations.
    But, alas, we are mere humans and it's humans we meet at church -and often these human -including us - are having a bad day......
     
  8. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    Hmm, I wouldn't say that is only case, @PilgrimsProgress but it may be the topic for another thread
     
  9. PilgrimsProgress

    PilgrimsProgress Well-Known Member

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    I was at my mission church yesterday -and discovered that both ministers were absent-as they were on a charity run for folks recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. (Not that they have these issues - just many in our congregation.)
    The service was taken by a retired minister from the congregation, and it was the usual blend of chaos, happiness, and food for thought.
    The guy who was to give a Bible reading, didn't appear when the minister asked him to read. Someone yelled out, "I think he's outside having a smoke'.
    The minister then asked this other woman to read it, but she said, "I can't, I'm already reading the collect."
    I jumped up, as I could see by now the minister was looking a bit bewildered and said, "I'll read it."
    Half-way through the reading the guy entered the church, and as he has paranoid tendencies, I stopped and asked him would he like to continue.
    He did.
     
  10. PilgrimsProgress

    PilgrimsProgress Well-Known Member

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    No, not the only case - just a new thought for me.....
     
  11. Seeler

    Seeler Well-Known Member

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    Church today - It was the first time for me in my home church for some time. We twin with another UCC in the summer and August was their month - then I was in Ontario and attended Mass at my sister's church - then last week I was leading worship in another pastoral charge. So - back home. Doubly so as our minister has been on sabbatical and this was the first time I've heard her since early spring.
    The service was nice, not special but nice. A gifted teenage girl taught the children (and the congregation) a new hymn that we will use in our celebratory worship service next week. The choir sang one of my favourite psalms (On Eagles Wings). Greetings and 'long time no see' from people who sit near us - people getting back from 'the lake' and settled into their routines again.
    The sermon was on the story in Jeremiah where he buys a field from a distant relative -- it fitted in well with a Crossan book I've been reading about distributive justice and how in the Hebrew scriptures the land was life and it was not to be sold outside the family. The minister also spoke on the rich man and Lazareth at his gate and how wealth can keep us from really seeing anyone outside our circle.
    Towards the end I let my mind wonder a bit. I wondered how each family would choose to spend their money and what their positions would be in a decade or two if they all started off even with a salary adequate to provide a basic 3-room bungalow and an adequate food supply and gave them X-number of dollars for extras each month. How would they spend this money? bigger house, car(s) or other transportation, clothing, eating-out, trips, education, sports or entertainment, charity, savings? Persumably at some point some people would have accumulated more than others; and some might be struggling? Where then is justice? What about a Jubilee year when land and wealth is returned (redistributed) to the original families?
    Sorry Rev. (and all the reverends out there) if letting my thoughts wander drains eenergy from the sermon - but at least I was somewhat on topic.
     
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  12. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    Church was fine - perhaps also a bit low in energy. The service included a brief covenanting with our intentional interim minister. We heard an update from the transition team. Sermon was on Lazarus & the rich man passage Seeler mentioned - the life of Albert Switzer was highlighted & I found that quite interesting. I didn't realize - his first career was as an organ builder! Then to med school after hearing of needs in Africa. He was turned down for posting by the Missionary Society as he wasn't quite politically correct for the times. He spent time in POW camp as he was of German heritage & returned to Africa after the war. Brilliant man, interesting life. After service, caught up with a few folks I hadn't seen for a while; gave a colourful prayer shawl to a guy who's mom is in a care facility with advanced Alzheimers - he is delighted to take it to her on his next visit. So - a good day, but low in energy.
     
  13. BetteTheRed

    BetteTheRed Resident Heretic

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    Of course, we all share the lectionary, if we choose to use it. and I read that damned Lazarus/rich man story as enthusiastically as I could. We did better with the Proverbs paraphrase to start with, actually. But then, the rev did her bit on the Lazarus story. and I can honestly say I took nothing away from it. I don't get it. My own life, personally, is substantially better than that of a single parent world wide, but of course, it's a bit meagre compared to a two-income family. I don't get where comparing one's original 'backpack' gets one anywhere.

    I was actually most struck by Jesus' highlighting the fact that the unnamed rich person's relatives would pay no attention to a prophet who rose from the dead when, in fact, it seems to be his followers' big drawing card.

    However, we had a St. Francis of Assissi blessing service for the animals at 2 this aft, and it was very lovely and meaningful. I brought Buster, 9 year old bassett hound, as representative of my family of critters.
     
  14. monk

    monk Holistic Anarchist

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    Went to look for my 'service provider' on you tube and this was the intro I found ...
    :D"Energy was zoomin' at Steinbach United this morning. Flying fingers on the keyboard. Fool on the hill in the pulpit. A room filled with folk young and old glad to be there. And.... perhaps most inviting.... great cookies and something to wash them down with after. Here's what the fool on the hill had to say:"
     
  15. Mendalla

    Mendalla Aspirant False Prophet

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    Well, you Christians share it at least:whistle:. My church has taken to setting monthly themes but preachers have a fair bit of leeway within that. October's theme is "Covenant" and I'm preaching a service on the seventh principle and the idea of a covenant with the universe. "God" will likely be namechecked and my current version even uses the first two lines of the New Creed (We are not alone/We live in God's world). And, horror of horrors:eek:, I might be saying a prayer. :cool:
     
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  16. You just never know

    You just never know Blip, blip, blip....

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    Ruckus was the sermon theme today. A good service with music I liked too. Sometimes church is alienating and I leave more empty than when I came in, but not today. Looking at some to the old gospel stories like Jesus calling Zacheus down from the tree and inviting himself to dinner at the home of a despised member of society. Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers not because money is bad, but because using God for our own ends is wrong. The Rev. was challenging us to cause a ruckus as part of our faith journey. Like don't just read the paper, write a letter to the editor. Be out there in other words. Something really funny crossed my mind too when I looked around at the other folks sitting in the same section of the church, but that is fodder for another thread. Ha ha the Rev. probably wondered why I was giggling when he hadn't said anything funny. :ROFLMAO:
     
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  17. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    "Ha ha the Rev. probably wondered why I was giggling when he hadn't said anything funny"

    Maybe that's why our minister sometimes looks at me in the choir loft in a strange way! Then what am I to do when hoping and dreaming for folk that take the Golden Roué's as a singular rub'n! Open faced sandwich ... or just a blank and blind statre?

    Your see a lot of those from the choir boie 'd perspective ... I have this song ... sort of a hope! Perhaps a dream ... are these incarnate in character?
     
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  18. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    WonderCafe2 is becoming like church too ...

    Some of the mini stirs here on this open hearted, open minded site, have set their cites on silencing me at their onus ...

    If silence is best in the company of authority ... the solution ... write it as wrong ... the expression of critical thought as it collapsed!

    Psychologists say that everybody should write their story ... as when you are gone from the real world all that is left of your mind Virtuous psyche?) of virtue is your narrative ... when among authority one darest not speak ... it is like a loud inquisition ... and there are those that despise questioning ... contrary to biblical think ... unless exposed in depth.

    Sort of reminds be of the critics of Go Set a Watchman ... then didn't understand either sentients or Mocking birds as reciprocal impressions ... these are all stored in Attica (the upper rheum) or Scout's role in the play ... tis a probe into the larger insensitive mind driven by "what"? Lack of awareness! You just never know everything as a god given mystery ... thus don't say things clearly ... even portions of the church adheres to smoke and mire ...
     
  19. Northwind

    Northwind Still knitting. Singing when I can.

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    This was our Presbytery weekend, so I was at a different church. I suspect we had all the energy that others were missing. We have a new minister among us who is from Zimbabwe. He preached at the closing of Saturday's events, and warned us that church in Africa lasts all day, and checked to make sure the doors were shut. :barefoot: He was very inspirational and enthusiastic. On Sunday we were treated to a sermon by Rev. Paul Walfall. Again, a very enthusiastic, energetic message that was inspiring. @GordW will you be channelling them at all? ;) (I do like your style, just bugging you in case it doesn't come across properly in print.)
     
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  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

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    I was holidaying around Ontario, but managed to make it to church both Sundays I was away. On the first Sunday I went to a United Church, eager to hear a United Church minister, but instead heard a guest speaker from Matthew House in Ottawa. Very inspiring and informative. Two elderly ladies said 'hi' to me as they recognized that I was new. Donations of paper products were piled at the front of the church for Matthew House. Since I hadn't brought anything, I decided that I could help by helping to load the vehicle for the speaker's trip back to Ottawa. I made several trips from the sanctuary to the car along with several other people. Not one person said hello or thank you. Not that I do it for 'thanks' but sometimes I expect churches to be a little better than they sometimes are. The second Sunday I went to a Catholic church with my husband. The church was packed. It was a new and young priest who led the worship and I enjoyed his message but understood why I had heard complaints about him. He is replacing a very personable priest. The young priest is very well educated and explains the Bible in connection with Catholic theology in a way that doesn't necessarily connect to ordinary life. He doesn't provide eye contact or seem to have any personal connection to the material or the congregation.

    Pinga -- I am glad that you are finding a new church home. I, too, have left a church once, and I remember it being one of the most traumatic things I have ever done. I have never blamed anyone there, but rather my reaction to what was going on. Happily, I am still good friends with the minister and people from that church and they invite me to lead worship sometimes and to sing in special choirs. Leaving it was the best thing I could have done because it kept me from being bitter, and it helped me to keep loving those people.
     

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