Monday, July 11, 2011

The Great Sociological Experiment, revisited

For my long-time readers, (both of you!) you will recall that when the philosopher and I endeavored to find a new church, we visited quite a number of different flavors and varieties.  I blogged about them in posts labelled "The Great Sociological Experiment", or G.S.E.

So two weeks ago we began again, in a new city. 

Our first venture was to a church that bills itself as  "Evangelical Anglican".  It's a very well known church, with over 3000 members and a very visible rector. It's about 45 minutes away from our house, and G professed to want to visit "simply out of curiosity".  So off we ventured!  Our first thought was that the edifice itself brought to mind cathedrals of old, very beautiful and charming.  The interior, once we got out of the parking deck (yes, a church with a PARKING DECK!) was also lovely, but disjointed.  There was a large desk reminiscent of a 4 star hotel lobby, where a number of folks stood by to thrust brochures into your hands.  As we walked down the wide hallway (think "airport-wide") we saw on the walls a beautiful illuminated manuscript page, a sheet of ancient shaped-note music, a (erm) Thomas Kincade-like print, and then ... a large flatscreen tv scrolling announcements.  (??!!??)

The sanctuary was also beautiful, with NIV Bibles in the pew backs, but no prayer books, and the bulletin was all glossy announcements with no real order of service.  The band was warming up, with drums and electric guitars and some brass.  ::sigh::  Ultimately, the folks were incredibly friendly but the service bore no resemblance to any kind of Anglican service.  Indeed, there was no liturgy at all.  No communion.  Lots of extemporaneous prayer and a firey revival sermon, but no quiet reverence.  Definitely not for us.

This past Sunday we visited a local congregation which met in a community center.  Of the ten folks there, we were the youngest there by 20 or so years. (The community center is in a retirement community, and I suspect that everyone attending lives there - not a bad thing generally, but not necessarily what we wanted!)  The rector is a full time police officer, and very pleasant, and we were delighted to hear a sermon on Romans that wasn't Calvinistic in nature.  But we need a church with more to offer folks our age - a place where we can connect with a community of believers and actually be part of that community.  So that definitely won't work either.

Once the philosopher gets back from a visit to his family, and I return the following week from a conference in Seattle, then we'll try again and see were God is leading.  So if you're so inclined, prayers for this new venture would be deeply appreciated!


J said...

On the flip side, modern tech can be really, really good at conveying information and so it's handy to have it somewhere. I suspect they could use some additional help in planning things, though.

Having an information disseminating tool (flatscreen with announcements) along a main traffic area is bad arrangement - it will either be ignored (in which case it should be removed) or it will clog up the traffic.

Either way a bad thing, even ignoring the clashing design between modern and ancient right next to each other.

We have an Anglican church in town that I've been curious to attend at some point. It advertises as "Church of the Holy Spirit" but is also mentioned as Anglican in corners of their website. We have some friends looking for a church who may appreciate at least some aspects of a liturgical church. I've thought of suggesting it, but I wonder if they're actually different from PentiBaptisMatic churches since their denominational affiliation is so buried behind the generic-sounding name.

Zana said...

J, check with Darren Jones at HSLDA - it may be affiliated with the charismatic Anglican church he and his family are part of (he's a deacon at one in Winchester!)

Susanna King said...

Out of curiosity, are you specifically looking for an Anglican church? If you're trying to avoid the Episcopal & Lutheran churches, there is a separate Lutheran convocation from the main one, though I can't remember what it's called, that uses basically the same liturgy.

Zana said...

Susanna, yes, we want to stay with an Anglican congregation. We've spent time in other denoms, and have decided that we are deeply Anglican, and nothing else will do! 8-)

Susanna King said...

I can understand that. It seems to me that there are more charismatic Anglican churches nowadays what with all the emigres from the Episcopal churches in the past few years. Would you agree?
The older Anglican church I know of in Columbia was geared more towards British expats, former Catholics, and people who really liked the poetry and pageantry of the Anglican liturgy. The new Anglican church in Columbia meets in a multipurpose room and plays contemporary music. Different strokes, etc.