Seeking Community: Presbyterian Church 2

Two Sundays ago, Chad and I visited another Presbyterian Church. This one in the town next to us, right up the street from our old apartment. The building is beautiful, especially considering this church has been around for more than 250 years. The sanctuary had a balcony section that went all around the room, which is, apparently, where the youth group usually sits during the service. The Sunday we visited the youth were in one of the back corners of the first level because one girl had hurt her ankle and couldn’t make it up to the balcony, so all her friends stayed below as well. Chad and I used to work with the youth group in our small satellite church, so it was fun to see all the kids sitting together and enjoying each other’s company. After the service, more than a couple people told us to join them in the Fellowship Hall for a youth group fundraiser: homemade soup. We bought a couple cups for $1 each (you could also buy to-go containers for a little more) and then we enjoyed some homemade southwest soup. There were around ten soups, in pots and crockpots, served by the youth, to choose from. It was a great fundraiser, and a fun way for the congregation to gather after the service.

But going back to the service, we were interested in going to this church because we had seen on their sign that they have two pastors, a husband and wife pair who lead the services together. And that was really interesting. It says on their website, “We are a husband & wife clergy couple and we’ve spent the last 18 years serving together in shared leadership in the church.  We enjoy being able to work together and we each bring complementary skills and talents to our ministry.”

I think that’s a great idea about bringing complementary skills to the leadership of the church. I know many churches do this through pastoral teams, but I thought this was a unique way to do that with a husband and wife team. It made me think about my own marriage and the ways Chad and I work well together and the ways we complement each other’s strengths and fill in for each other’s weaknesses.

At the beginning of the service, the pastors called the children forward and talked to them about baptism. They took turns explaining the meaning of baptism and then inviting the children to dip their hands into a baptismal font to retrieve a little stone. After the children were dismissed, the entire congregation was invited to come forward at any time during the service to retrieve a stone or just dip your fingers into the water and cross your forehead, as a reminder of your own baptism. I like when church services are active and call you to participate, so I thought this was a meaningful way to remind us all of our baptisms. There were a couple deaconesses who were installed this Sunday, too, so that was an interesting addition to see. The service was long, but it didn’t feel long to me because it was broken up with songs and the message and the ordinations.

This church has a monthly free breakfast for the community, and they also mentioned a sunrise service for Easter Sunday. They also have a Sunday evening service, which Chad and I both found intriguing. Their website says, “Our 5:00 p.m. service is unique and interactive.  Have you ever wanted to select a hymn?  At this service you can.  Have you ever wanted to ask a question during the sermon?  At this service you can.  This service is a worship and dialogue together.” It’s followed by a potluck dinner, so maybe that’s something we will try out sometime.

There are so many different and varied churches in our community, I’m so glad we’re getting to experience them all. At each one, I feel like I get something different and am surprised by a new aspect. There are so many ways to worship God and live in community with those around you, and there’s no right or wrong way to do that. It just reminds me that we are all made in God’s image, and at the same time, we are all unique and can contribute in our own ways.

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