Sunday, May 07, 2006

Church #2: Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

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.

Erica: 5. I wasn't completely uncomfortable but I didn't really feel welcomed, perhaps because of how large the congregation was.
Brad: This Church also gets a 5 from me, because of the lack of personality

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
101 S. Lebanon Road
Loveland, Ohio 45140

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
No, but I was curious about Lutheran church because of mon ami Mark Zimmerman, who was raised Lutheran.

6. Time/duration of services:

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

8. Who did you meet?
Actually, no one. There were a *ton* of people at the church, especially compared to last week's intimate congregation. No one welcomed us when we were there, even though we were early and seated by ourselves. We shook plenty of hands but I didn't get anyone's name.

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc
Uh, I don't think I was supposed to take this with me, but I needed something to scan. Sorry.

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

ERICA: Wowzas. We took quite a leap from last week. This church was much larger, for starters... a little bigger in size, a lot bigger in congregation. That did help us blend in a little bit, but it also made me feel a little isolated-- no one talked to us at all. I guess with that many people there just isn't the time to stop, say hi to each person, welcome them to the church. I guess I understand that, and I definitely could have made a greater effort myself if I was bent on meeting someone. Unfortunately, I just felt too shy.

What really surprised me-- but wouldn't surprise anyone even remotely familiar with the religion-- was that everything was scripted down to the smallest detail. Instead of a loose service program, we got these books of intricate detail, right down to when we should be standing (indicated by an asterick). While this was incredibly helpful for a first-time church-goer... could I handle that week after week? What I really liked about last week's service was that it was spoken from the top of the head, and the bottom of the heart. It had obviously been practiced, but not set in stone.

Because of the rigidty of the service, it felt a little odd to me. It was almost OCD... I could imagine people freaking out if the order of the service was changed. Maybe this is unfair, but it seemed so automatic. Of course we're singing Psalm 23 here. Why? It's Psalm 23 time. Duh.

Again, it was helpful for us first-timers... the things we were supposed to say were in bold, and we knew when to stand and when to sit... we were even told which way to turn when appropriate (toward this book, now toward this huge bowl of water, now back toward the pulpit). But I think if I were looking to settle down with a religion, I'd want one that was a little more spontaneous. (And maybe one with some better singalongs.)

All in all my experience wasn't a negative one, it just wasn't as comfortable as I guess I'd hoped. Bradley and I didn't take communion but we did sit and stand and sing and recite and reflect and tithe, so I think we're alright.

Also noteworthy: this church's band had a tuba and a flute, besides the standard fare. Woo hoo!

Brad: When I walked through the doors of this church, I wasn't greeted with the feeling of saftey and love, but the smell of a doctor's office, and the cold feeling of uncomfort. I'm not going as bold as saying this Church was bad, or gave me a bad feeling, but It was a less welcoming touch from our first. Although, this is what I was afraid of, the comparison of the two. Anyway, we took our seats, and here is what I noticed.

The large tub of Holy Water near the front of the door. The paper slips on the pew labled "scribble sheet, for little Lutherans". The guitarist that looked JUST like Max Weinberg, the network router that made this Church a "hot spot", and the cool robes of the ministor. The lector they had did nothing for me, and the sermon was mild at best. Although the songs music was excellent, it lacked that Church-y feel.

I really hate the fact that I get in my "Sunday Best" (a dress shirt and tie) for respect, and some people are wearing a freak'n "I <3 NY" shirt. That really bugs me. Also, another note worthy thing was that this Church was very, very clean. The walls were white, with the big "alleluia" on it. Anyway, overall this Church was very well put together, but lacked a personal touch to it.

Church #1: Thank you letter!

On Saturday we received a nice thank you letter from the Loveland United Methodist Church. A kind gesture.

(It reads: Bradley & Erica, So glad you worshipped at Loveland UMC! I was blessed to have the opportunity to annoint and pray for you. Hope to see you again. Yours in Christ, Pastor Doug)