Today at Church…

I have a very convoluted church history; having moved from a variant-form of Pentecostalism to Anglicanism, and having visited/attended more churches along the way than I care to remember. One of the things I love about the Anglican tradition is its liturgical focus and emphasis on the Eucharist. I always look back to my forefathers in the faith over the centuries – truly the communion of saints. Nonetheless, an awful downside is the fairly atrocious choice of really dour hymns which are squeaked out each week – I mean, who really sings these passionately and with gusto? I don’t think it’s physiologically possible. Worshipping in the company of angels, it ain’t (at least, it doesn’t feel that way a lot of the time). Still, no church is perfect and I shouldn’t complain, but I’m feelin’ kinda grumpy today – and it’s my blog. Anyway, given that I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, I slept in this morning (ahem, again) and found myself at the local Methodist (which starts 45 mins later). The singing/hymns were just as bad. It’s funny, but it makes me nostalgic for my Pentecostal days; hands raised, dancing in the aisles, swinging from the chandeliers – well, ok, that’s exaggerating – slightly. But at least worship really meant giving God his proper worth. So why is it that when I do occasionally attend my old denomination, I end up feeling at my most liturgical? Maybe the contrarian in me will never be satisfied. Anyhow, the sermon was very good. Frankly, it was a model sermon, something to emulate and to which I paid very close attention. The minister was evidently very intelligent, yet he managed to address the entire congregation in a very clear manner without the hint of condescension or ‘dumming-down’. Twelve minutes proved more than sufficient to get his points and essential message across with impressive clarity. As someone contemplating ministry, both the content of the sermon, its delivery, and its presentation, gave me much food for thought. I’ll definitely have to go back and hear him again.

Anyway, as I’m having a moan, let me share a major gripe. For the love of God, why can’t any strangers be properly befriended when they walk through the doors of a church? No one, not even the people I was squashed in-between, spoke to me, not so much a smile or nod in my general direction to acknowledge my existence. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this in my spiritual vagabondage, but it’s just so, so wrong! If I do end up in ministry, I’ll be drumming it into the congregation that proper greeting and welcoming is not an option, but a mandatory requirement. I can’t imagine how offputting this would be for a non-Christian who has managed to summon up the courage to step inside a church, and then gets left to their own devices – especially if that person is as strongly introverted as me. Seriously, how hard can it be for our churches to arrange for a few of the friendlier extroverts among the congregation to be on the lookout for newcomers? Nonetheless, the minister himself was very warm and made time to welcome me (even amidst the rushed exodus of congregants). He greeted me with a double-handed handshake, asked me my name, and where I normally worshipped etc. In other words, he made a genuine effort to reach out – but that’s something which needs to replicated by everyone in the church. OK, moan over.


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One Response to “Today at Church…”

  1. Welcoming the Stranger: Dundonald Elim « Introspective Cogitations Says:

    […] amount of church-related musings on the horizon. Anyway, to follow up on an earlier, grumpy post (rant/moan), I thought I’d better balance it with something more positive. Without boring the pants off […]

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