Visit to a UCC church
First of all, it was beautiful. It's a huge old colonial type church with a big white steeple on top and columns across the front. It is set back from the road on a slight hill and surrounded by lots of green grass and trees. The parking lot is totally hidden from the view of the front of the church as is the enclosed children's playground. As I walked into the church I could just imagine New England Puritans stepping out to greet me. It was kind of surreal because it is not your typical midwest church. The sanctuary was all white with huge arched clear glass windows and rows of wooden pews. Very traditional.
However, I found out that this week (and actually all of August) the services are being held down in the "Mayflower Room" (gotta love that). It was a multipurpose room that I imagine is mostly used for social events like suppers and wedding receptions. The service was more informal than what they usually have (from what I understand) but considering I'm used to UU services, I wasn't bothered in the least. Everyone was very welcoming and introduced themselves to me immediately. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the church members and got a pretty good feel for it. I had a good discussion with the woman who is the leader of the lay staff and we spoke of the UCC, the stillspeaking campaign, etc. I told her I consider myself a UU Christian but often find there isn't enough God in my UU services. But the flip side of that is that I often find that I am too liberal for regular Christian churches (even the one UCC church I attended at Easter). She assured me that I probably wasn't liberal enough for some people at this church. (YIPPEE!) They are a little smaller than my UU church (only about 200 members) and they didn't seem to have a lot of young people and young families there. But it could be due to the fact that it is summer. I plan to come back in the fall and see what it is like then.
I especially liked the service. They started off the morning with a talk about water representing life and they quoted biblical scripture dealing with water. Then they had a baptism of a 22 month old girl who'd recently been adopted from China. I was really impressed with how they handled the baptism - what it represented. The language the minister used was something I especially liked. There was a focus on God (as opposed to Jesus which is what I often find). And although they mentioned God, Christ Jesus (a subtlety I like), and the Holy Spirit, it didn't feel overly trinitarian. The focus was on the fact that this girl belonged to God and nothing she ever did or said would change that. Very cool. I had tears in my eyes.
Later in the sermon he spoke more about how God never leaves us no matter where our lives lead us or what we may believe or do. He invited the entire congregation to come forward if they wanted and dip their hand into the baptismal font to reaffirm their own baptism. Since I haven't been baptised, I didn't go forward, but I would do something like that at a different time. I just really liked the way it was done. It didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all.
I do feel a little like someone having an affair on the side, though. I'd think of my UU church and the people there and I felt a tinge of guilt for being somewhere else. But this UCC service had, for me, just the right amount of God and Jesus in it to make me happy. Can I straddle the fence? Will I be able to attend both churches? I'm seriously considering giving it a try.
Labels: My Spiritual Search