Sunday, August 27, 2006

Church #15: Glen Este Church of Christ

(Oops! I completely forgot to take a picture today. I stole this from their webpage; I will try to replace it with a real picture sometime this week. Sorry!)

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica.

2. CHURCH HOP RANKINGS:
How was the experience?
1: I was so uncomfortable and/or offended that I did not stay to the end of services.
10: This church was welcoming and thought-provoking. I would recommend that others experience this church.


ERICA: 9!
BRADLEY: 8, this was a great Church.

3. Picture(s) of the church
(Sorry; I'm an idiot!)

4. Name/location of the church:
Glen Este Church of Christ
937 Cincinnati-Batavia Pike
Cincinnati, OH 45245
www.gecc.net

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope-- it's on the way to the third church that Gail recommended (which we will visit next week).

6. Time/duration of services:
10:30--noon.

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
I'm not really sure-- "Church of Christ" isn't too specific for me, and I couldn't find that information on their site. Does anyone one to help me out here?

8. Who did you meet?
Oh man. A ton of people-- read my summary. I didn't catch any names-- sorry!

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc

10. Church Hopper’s personal experience with the church, additional details:

ERICA: Woo! I really liked this church-- it's the only other nine+ that I have given since Crossroads. (Remember, ten is reserved for religious conversion.) It was such a different church that Crossroads, too-- pretty much on the other end of the traditional <--> contemporary spectrum as I can imagine.

Right away, we were greeted by a handful of people, all asking us our name, where we were from, what brought us here-- the usual questions. We were "mugged"-- we got GECofC mugs as welcome gifts, along with a welcome packet with church information. I immediately felt a little tug at my heartstrings when the very first guy to welcome me said, "I hope this won't be the last time we see you around here!" Sometimes it kind of sucks to know that it will be. I felt sincerely and geniunely welcome at the church.

Bradley and I found our way to a pew-- the place was almost completely packed, so we sat in the front for a change (out of lack of options). The congregation was predominately-- and I'm talking like 95%-- geriatric. Because of that I was expecting a slow and somewhat disappointing service, but it just served to point out that prejudice of mine. When the music started, everyone stood and sang-- everyone. Not the low drone that I've grown used to hearing, but a heartfelt, faith-driven choir. Definitely what I've been looking for all along-- no one was reading the lyrics on the screen, they were just belting out familiar hymns in praise. It was hard to look around when we were right in front, but from the people I could see and the boisterous singing I could hear, they were singing from the heart.

When the first couple of songs were over, the people in the pews around us greeted us with the same whole-hearted enthusiasm as when we entered. Then there were some prayers and announcements, and they brought up a traveling church quartet, the Melton Family Singers. Although I honestly preferred the music I'd been hearing, this quartet was a fun change of pace and you could tell the congregation was glad for it. It was an interesting thing to be a part of, and the father of the Meltons gave a guest sermon. I really liked the sermon, actually-- it was traditional and full of stories and anecdotes.

The service passed fairly quickly for me, which was nice. When we left, of course, we were thanked and welcomed and invited back by several people. I was kind of sad to leave. I think Bradley and I are going to make an amendment to the Church Hop charter: we're considering setting December aside to visit churches that we've liked over the year. Make sense? Spend the Christmas season at churches that have done a lot to reach out and make us feel welcome? Sounds right to me.

BRADLEY: Well,

This church was great. It was nice to come off a long string of good churchs, to be hit with one GREAT one. When Erica and I first got there, we were greeted through a gauntlet of people. Hands were being shook, "good morning"s were being exchanged, papers, info, questions. After about six or so people, I was asked if I was a new visitor. He gave me a large packet of information (really cool!) and a mug (totally cool). I don't think Erica and I have been given anything like that before. So we have a mug to commemorate our 15th Church. After we walked in, it was a little weird, because the only spot left in the house, was the second row. Some people like to sit there, but Erica and I don't, because we don't know the customs, and we like to be "lost in a crowd." It's easier to observe, when you're not being seen by everyone.

Regardless, the announcments went on, and so did a few good songs. I was really hoping for a church band, but I saw no instruments, (except for the piano). Shortley after, It was mentioned, that a local traveling family band was here today. the "Melton Family Singers" were there name, and they wern't that bad. It was a little weird at first, because I had never seen anything like this before. You could tell they had spent there time, and done it right, because the music was great.

Followed by an even better sermon. The father/husband of the band was also delivering a message. This was one of the better sermons I've ever seen. His thoughts, though scatter-brained, were wrapped up very nicley in the end, complemented by great personal examples. This was a joy to sit though. Before I knew it, the whole time w spent there was over. I could tell that the church connected to it's members. This was a great church, and I really hope that we will come back.



*****
Looks like I'm going to just start tacking on the thank you letters at the end of the posts; it's been working for a couple of weeks now. Last week we visited the Eastgate Vineyard Church, and Bradley and I both received welcome packets from them. We got two different CDs of churchy music, so we're starting quite the collection now! (Haven't had a chance to listen yet, sorry!)

If you're a skimmer, read the bold part where they mentioned Church Hop!

It reads:

Dear Erica,

Thank you for taking the time to worship with the family of Vineyard Eastgate Community Church. We trust that your worship experience was a blessing to you and that you were made welcome by the love and care of this home. It is our desire to connect with you personally and respond to the needs of your life.

Please accept this letter as our way of saying, "we love you." We personally look forward to sharing another worship experience with you in the near future. We also appreciate your honest feedback on your church hopping blog site. It was informative and yet also challenging to the church at large of the importance of making our guest feel welcomed and loved. Thanks again for your honest feedback and for visiting. Feel free to call and let us know how we may better serve you in the days to come.

If you would like to learn more about Vineyard Eastgate please join us for a free lunch on September 10th at 1pm at the Fairfield Inn located in Eastgate. We call this TRACK A= Vineyard 101. Here you will learn our story, history, values, and vision.

Have a great week.
Pastor Chad Werner

4 comments:

Gail said...

Just thought I'd answer your question about what is the "Church of Christ." It is a part of the 'independent' Christian Churches & Churches of Christ. Each church functions independently and there are no "denominational headquarters." It was a movement started in the early 1800's as a result of some frustrations with some of the denominational creeds. Basic beliefs are that the Bible is the inspired word of God, Jesus is the only Son of God and died so that people could receive forgiveness of sins. Eastside and Mt. Carmel Christian Church are of the same "genre." If you think of any specific questions, let me know, I just thought I'd give you the "basics" and not bore you with lots of details!!

Eebs said...

Thank you very much! That's incredibly helpful. I really appreciate that-- I hate to be so short on information...

Clarence said...

Very nice. My family is actually visiting GECC for the first time tomorrow, I hope we all have the same experience you two have had.

Anonymous said...

To give further information on the Church of Christ/Christian Churches-Anderson Hills Church of Christ is on the left leaning branch of the Restoration Movement known as the Disciples of Christ (the chalice is a recognizable symbol) where First Church of Christ Burlington and First Christian Church Springfield Ohio are also independent Christian Churches. These groups do not believe in ordaining homosexuals or having women as the head pastor of a congregation. Also, this group along with the more conservative branch (Withamsville Church of Christ) will offer communion every sunday and understand baptism as part of the conversion process. The more right leaning branch (non-instrumental) sing acapella in their services and are more stringent on baptism as a necessity of salvation and the importance of communion every week.
For more information check out "The Encyclopedia of the Stone Campbell Movement" or "Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement"