Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A new experience

My family have been going to a lovely little Anglican church, in a small village, for over 20 years. I love that church - it is a beautiful setting in which to worship, and the service and hymns are the 'high church' ways that I have grown up with, and in which I find peace. But it is about a 25 minute drive from our house.

So this past Sunday, I thought to try out a different Anglican church, which is in a suburb of our city, and somewhat closer to our home. The 9am service suited our timing, so that is what we did. My first impression was that the congregation are so welcoming, and has a very strong family element. People introduced themselves to me, played with Naomi, and I was invited to join a new children's playgroup that they are starting. And this was all before the service even started!

The service itself was very different to what I am used to - the priest wore no robes, and did not lead the service at all. There were no prayer books or hymn books - all the words were projected onto a screen above the altar. I did not know any of the hymns, or even the tunes. And, most disconcerting of all - they did not have communion.

So I am two minds about the overall experience - it was a very welcoming, warm and friendly church with a strong family element. But I do want to take communion on a regular basis - and it appear that I cannot do that, unless we go to the 7am service.

Finally, I am having trouble reconciling the fact that the wooden crucifix had been moved from above the altar, to make way for a screen upon which the service words were projected. Is it right for men to presume to move the symbol of our Lord's suffering and love, to project words that we can all see if we have a prayer book and hymn book anyway?

Any thoughts on these things that are circling around in my mind would be appreciated.


Melissa Markham said...


Churches are changing. They are trying new tactics to entice more people. Many people like the words on the screen because they can see it better and they don't have to fumble through a hymnal. Unfortunately, in the church we attended briefly that had the words on the screen, all of the songs were contemporary. I missed the old hymns.

We visited a large, more contemporary church. It was well organized. The sermons were relevant, the people were welcoming (volunteers at the door) and the children's progarm was top notch. But because all of the small group meetings took place during the week, I never really got to meet anyone and after about 7 months we looked elsewhere. While it wasn't for us, they run two services a day and both are packed with close to 2000 people!

I would suggest writing down the things that are important to you and trying to find a church that meets as many of those criteria as possible. Good luck!

Kara said...

I understand your dilemma, we've had the same in the past. My mother-in-law once told me "go where your spirit is fed". We had to choose between two churches, one was closer, knew people who went there, even had family ties there or a church that was further out, but one that held an amazing service geared towards youth and family in which my 7 year old loved to sing. We are going to the second church now. It just seemed to fed our family's spirit a little better.
In my old church, before our move, I wasn't happy with what was offered for the youngsters and the young families and working with my preist we were able to implement some new programs. You might think of trying that with your old church, of course you still have the drive and I understand how that can be with a little one!