Sunday, October 01, 2006

Church #20: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica.

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.

Bradley: 6, there was a lot to take in.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
1950 Nagel Road
Cincinnati, OH 45255

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope-- Bradley found this church in passing.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?

8. Who did you meet?
Many people, especially Kris and Lisa, made us feel welcome. We were also able to meet Pastor Zorn after service.

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

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

ERICA: I was mostly comfortable here-- we were welcomed right away, shown to the colorful and brightly-lit auditorium, etc. The room was even brighter than usual, as their quilting club had put together quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and they were all over the seats, waiting to be dedicated by the congregation. The room was really beautiful and comfortable.

As with the other Lutheran church we've visited (not last week, as Bradley misspoke, but back in May), the service is too strict for my taste. Granted, the congregation did not seem to be phoning it in at all-- they seemed truly engaged. Still, the "sit now, stand now" approach just doesn't fit with me. I feel too confined; there was very little opportunity for personal reflection and expression.

One thing that was different about Lutheran C of the R-- not only from Prince of Peace but really from all churches we've been to-- is child involvement. When the prelude was being played I winced as a few notes were missed, until I realized that it was a very young girl playing the piano. Kids helped usher, lit the candles, and even read the lessons. They seemed to take it very seriously and did an amazing job with their responsibilities. This really impressed me.

I really liked the pastor-- I thought he was animated and articulate. The service was waaaaay too long for my taste, but what can ya do. This isn't my religion to mess with.

Here's a question I put to anyone who's reading this: I don't take communion, as I feel it's wrong when I don't really believe in what it symolizes, and I feel it would insult the people who do. However, in places like LCR, I felt really embarrassed to be the only one sitting (well, with Bradley) while the rest of the congregation was in a circle in the front. What is the best way to deal with this? This is not the first time that I've felt this way-- some churches pass around the Eucharist and etc, and that makes it a little easier to pass on. But when it's a big event like this... is there a more discreet way to pass on communion? Just a talking point; any feedback is welcome.

Bradley: I'll tell 'ya, this church was beautiful. The looks of this church were what attracted me to go there in the first place. It looked like a giant glass egg, just sitting on a hill. I was very curious upon entry to find out what buildling would look like, and I was very pleased.

We signed in, in the guestbook (for some odd reason, that's only the second guest thing we signed, that wasn't a card, but rather a book), and talked a little with some people from the lobby, who were telling us about the church. They covered some of the things they do, and led us into a brief hallway, full of hand-made quilts. They were all very, very well made. I was taken back by the thought of how much time had to have gone into those. Very impressive.

We walked in, and took our seats, past the small pool of running water. I only say that, because of the destinct sound it made when the room was quiet. We sat down, and got situated, and started to skim our hand-outs, when the morning service started. It was a new thing for me to see teens and kids taking part in the morning service, (lighting candles and such) and it made me think, what is required to do something like that? Hm.

Anyway, they played a few songs, and gave some morning announcements about what's going on. To be honest, I wasn't really listening, because I was still gazing around the large glass windows. It wasn't too long before the sermon started. At first, I really had a hard time getting in the pastors grove, but I guess in retrospect, I really liked the sermon he gave. He pulled in a few messages with references to himself (something I always like), and a strong connection to the church members. The most odd part, was of course, communion. Sitting there, and being the only ones not observing the tradition is a little strange, and makes you feel like an outcast. Erica brought up a very good point in her post, because I sometimes don't belive in some of the traditions, but I don't want to be doing them just to do them, that's wrong for the people that DO belive in it. It's very odd, and this church really made me think about it too.

Also! This week Bradley and I received this thank you letter from Anderson Hills Christian Church, which we attended last week. It reads:

Dear Bradley and Erica:

We were very happy to have you worship with us this past Sunday and I was glad to have the chance to meet you. I do hope that you were blessed by your time with us.

I invite you to join us again for worship and to have the chance to get to know you better. We do have an active youth fellowship that meets twice a month and sometimes includes some students from the Glen Este campus. Out next meeting is on Sunday, October 8th at 5:00 p.m. and we invite you to join us.

In His Love,
Nik Donges


Gail said...

For your question about sitting during communion, I say do what you are comfortable with and don't feel embarassed by that. If someone wants to think something about it that's their issue, not yours. During communion they should be thinking and reflecting about their own stuff and not worrying about why you aren't participating! As best as I can tell, there is no mandate that everyone has to do everything in a church service so I say do what's in your comfort level and no worries! Communion is a time between the individual and God and if that's not where you are, then going through the motions just for the sake of doing it wouldn't serve any purpose so why do it? That's the world according to me!!!

Ryan said...

Having been to *a* Lutheran service, I can only say it's a bit awkward to stoically avoid Communion. It's just something I realize going into it.


Eebs said...

Thank you for your comments. It's always my number one concern when entering a church: will they take communion? No church has ever made me feel uncomfortable about it, don't get me wrong... it's my own personal issue.

Glenny said...

I think this is a great question. At my church, we don't offer communion on the weekends (only Wednesday services) for this very reason - it can make visitors feel uncomfortable, and since we're a church that's interested in attracting people who aren't regular churchgoers, it's doubly bad. It's a little bit like inviting a friend over for dinner and then telling them they can't have any of the mashed potatoes.

Anyway, NOT taking communion demonstrates that you have integrity. You're doing exactly the right thing - keep it up. Oh - and Gail's right: anyone judging you for not taking communion has their own baggage they should be dealing with.

Eebs said...


Thank you so much! That really means a lot. And just so I'm being absolutely clear, no one in particular has ever made me feel uncomfortable about not taking communion. It's really more the feeling of being The Person Still Sitting There. When people have to walk around you to get out, that's the worst. But it isn't anyone's fault... it's something I try to prepare myself for before entering any church. Just par for the course.

Off topic, how did you find Church Hop?

Jenny said...

Question... any idea if this Lutheran church was ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) or Missouri Synod? I'm just curious, since I'm Lutheran.

I think it's nice that you're trying to respect communion and everything. I'm not sure if every church is this way or just ours, but at our church if you go up but cross your arms over your chest, the pastor will give you a blessing instead of the bread and wine... so you might try that.

Eebs said...

Jenny-- if you have questions about the church, check their website. It says ECLA on the home page (links on left). The site can tell you more than I can.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE COMPLETELY with glenny. I am SO impressed anytime I happen to notice that someone is not taking communion. It is a great sign that they have high integrity. I don't know if I could withstand the peer pressure of that moment. You are totally doing the right thing!

Russ said...

The quilt event and Lutheran World Relief suggests to me that this was an ELCA congregation. The ELCA practices open communion (as opposed to, say, the Catholic church), but you are doing the right thing by opting out if you don't feel comfortable and if you don't truly accept the meaning of the sacrament. Trust me, I've been Lutheran for many years and there is little/no chance that anyone will think anything of staying put in the pew. Just listen to the music or read the announcements in the bulletin. By all means, relax! That is no problem at all. I just thank God that you are there every week, which is more than most committed Christians can say. If you talked with the pastor, he/she would probably encourage you to explore the meaning of the sacrament before partaking, and maybe even consider baptism. But this would be a bit intimidating for most people. So I say it's OK to participate if you ever feel so called. After all, Jesus said, "...take and eat..." and "...take a drink..." and "...given for ALL people for the forgiveness of sins..." There really weren't any qualifiers recorded in the Gospels. Grace and peace, my friend...

Mark Zimmerman said...

You definitely should not take communion if you don't feel comfortable doing so, but luckily with Lutherans you don't have the baggage of transubstantiation (bread/wine become body/blood) or consubstantiation (same thing but they are also still bread/wine). Luther was keen really only on the symbolism there, not the creepy mystical stuff. Not that that means you shouldn't still be uncomfortable, but i think it helps, haha