“Transforming Lives, Communities and the World for more than 300 years.”
June 23, 1030 AM
This church is surrounded by a massive cemetery. I estimate about 20 acres of gravestones, old and new, provide the landscape for this red brick church. The inside pews are sectioned, probably one area for each family back in the old days. There is also a rectangular balcony above the main seating where the slaves used to stand. This was mentioned during the service as a sort of proud moment, because allowing slaves to worship with the white folks was progressive, they said.
I accidentally went in the door closest to the altar area and immediately felt woefully underdressed. I had biked to this church, wearing my spandex shorts and carrying my helmet. It seemed like everyone stared at me, but that could have been because I was a new face and not necessarily because of my attire.
I walked to the back of the pews, where the main door is located and received a bulletin and a nice greeting from the usher. Then, I found a spot in the third to last sectioned pew. The man in front of me turned around and greeted me enthusiastically, noting that I must have biked here. He said he used to bike also, but when he hurt his foot, “well, the hell with it…” he said. He commented that everyone here was probably twice my age. I said I doubted that. He then said, “well there aren’t many forty-five year olds here…” I told him my age, fifty-five, and he said, “really?” I liked him right then.
During the announcements, my buddy Dave, stood up and said that all visitors should stop by the hospitality table outside the front doors after church where refreshments would be served. He had also mentioned this to me already.
We sang the opening song to a tune from 1566, which may have been why the couple next to me got up and left while we were singing. I’ll never understand why some churches can’t at least update their music. At the very least, have a song leader who can lead the dismal tunes. Instead we sounded like a bunch of murmuring pigeons.
Things went better after that. When the pastor called up the children, a lone lass of maybe 13-14 came forward. The pastor explained his favorite t-shirt, which has a bunch of superheroes sitting, side-by-side on a beam: Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain American, The Hulk, etc. Jesus, sitting in the middle, is saying: “And that’s how I saved the world.” The pastor asked the young woman if she had a favorite superhero.
She said, “Wonder Woman.”
The pastor seemed to recognize the fault in the illustration and said something like, “Uh-oh, this t-shirt needs a revision..” His “bubbly” personality made up for any shortcomings and he delivered an engaging sermon, asking the congregation for questions and comments.
Two offerings were taken, one for the “Deacon’s Fund”, which helps local families in need and the second for the usual stuff. I gave mine to the Deacon’s Fund. After another abysmal hymn, the service ended. I went out and spoke briefly with Dave, saying I really couldn’t stay because my husband was waiting for me to finish our bike ride. He managed to get me to help him pour a few iced teas.
Theologically, this church probably suits me. But to worship regularly here, I would need to make a few suggestions. However, solely because of Dave, this church PASSED the WELCOME TEST.