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How was church today?

Mendalla

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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.
 

Mendalla

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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.
 

Pinga

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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.
 
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Tabitha

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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.
 

revsdd

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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!
 

Pinga

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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
 

PilgrimsProgress

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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......
 

PilgrimsProgress

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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.
 

Seeler

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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. H