Saturday, September 09, 2006

Church #14 & #15: Thank You Notes

Wow-- an insanely busy week for Church Hop! If you haven't read Bradley's post on Crossroads, scroll back a bit. Tom will be adding his two cents soon-- getting everyone together to post is impossible!

Besides those two posts, we also received *two* thank you notes within a day of one another. I was surprised by one because we already received (and blogged about) a note from Vineyard Eastgate, but I was still grateful for this:

It reads:
Erica & Bradley,
Sorry for the delay in writing. We appreciate your visit & your feedback. I would love the opportunity to stay in touch!
John Sinclair
@ Vineyard Eastgate

Enjoy a cup of coffee on us!

(They inclosed a gift card to Starbucks! That was a new one for us. Thank you, Vineyard Eastgate.)

The second thank you note that we received was from Glen Este Church of Christ. It reads:

September 7, 2006

Dear Erica and Bradley:

We were pleased to have you both as a guest, for the worship service recently. On behalf of the Glen Este Church of Christ, I would like to say "Welcome." We hope you were inspired and will return.

We strive to be both friendly, and caring to all, for our only rule and guide is The Holy Scriptures.

If you have any questions concerning the church, or have a spiritual need, please feel free to call the church at 753-8223. Hoping to se eyou again I remain,
Sincerely Lois Metzler

Bradley in particular really liked this letter. It definitely fit into the overall feel of this church. Thank you for the note, Glen Este Church of Christ.

Coming soon: Tom's perspective on Crossroads, and a new post tomorrow!

Church #9 Crossroads Community Church (Revisited)

1. Who attended? Bradley & Tom

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: 9
Tom: 9

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Crossroads Community Church
3500 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45209

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Erica's friend Kim, and later, Erica.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
inter-denominational (According to the previous post)

8. Who did you meet?
Nobody, but I did see Erica's friend Kim.

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

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

Bradley: Erica was right when she said this was an awesome church. First of all, it's the biggest church I've ever been to. It was amazing. According to dadman (he's Tom [who was familiar with the location]), this church was made from an old Home Depot. Hopefully that can shed some light on the size. Upon entering, dad mentioned how diffrent this is to what he thought it would be. For me, I kind of expected this, but dad really hadn't seen many "Modern churchs". The coffee bar was overflowing with people, like the movie theater at the rush hour. Hundredes of people were there, and the kids section wound through the top platform. People were slowley climbing the stairs, and going through the doors, to the service.

The closest thing I can associate the room with, is a Reds game. It had three levels of seating, two screens, and a 4-room skit area in the back of the main stage. The band was already set-up. They started in with a song, as dadman and I sat down, and checked out the place. It was dark by nature, the lighting was really only on the main stage. People were still taking there seats when the band finished. We went through the normal annoucments, and titheing. (Which, I didn't expect them to pass out plates at a church this size)

Then the sermon started.

I loved, this sermon.

It was SO good, because he brought in a great mix of his own personal stories (how he "meet" Van Halen) and his own quotes from the Bible, with a great mixture of reference to the Jewish culture. That's something that I don't think most churchs do, tie in any references to any other religions. Anyway, he continued on with daily practices, and how praying shouldn't be a "time", but something we are always doing. I like to think it's a good sermon, when somebody non-religious (like me) takes something away. This was a great church, and I know we'll be coming back.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Church #16: First Christian Church (Springfield, OH)

1. Who attended? Erica M. & guest Hopper Erica B.

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 M.: 7.
ERICA B.: 7.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
First Christian Church
311 West High Street
Springfield, OH 45506

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Not really... we were in Springfield, Ohio on "vacation" and we found a church through the hotel visitor's guide.

6. Time/duration of services:

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

8. Who did you meet?
I actually remembered to try to meet someone after the services, so I tracked down the pastor that gave the sermon. He was very nice and seemed happy to talk to us, which was nice because there was a really large congregation, so we didn't really have any other personal contact with the church.

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

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

ERICA B.: As a first-time hopper, this was a great church to start off with - especially since we had to pick pretty randomly! The church was beautiful, inside and out. One of the first things I noticed were the screens in the front of the sanctuary. There were two large screens that displayed the words to the songs that were being sung, scriptures, and various other pertinent information. I think Bradley would have loved the A/V here; it was very well done. The Powerpoint presentation used on the large screens was surprisingly very good. I say surprisingly because I've seen plenty of bad Powerpoint presentations, and this was definitely not like that. I also noticed (for Bradley's sake) that everyone seemed to be appropriately well-dressed, but also casual enough that i felt comfortable wearing flip flops with my skirt (the only shoes I'd brought with me for the weekend).

After we found a seat, one of the ministers gave a few quick announcements, and then the music began. I was surprised at how long the music went on, and on, and on. The songs were nice and the singing was good, but I didn't expect it to last as long as it did. The songs were all contemporary Christian music, and the lyrics were displayed for us on the big screens. I think it was then that I noticed there were no hymnals or bibles in the pews, because I had expected to sing a hymn or two. (I had "Holy, Holy, Holy!" in my head - but alas, no hymns.) One song that featured a few of the women in the congregation was especially good, and you could tell they had practiced.

During the first part of the music was a "greeting" time, and we shook a few hands. After the music was communion, which I thought at first was the collection plate. I tried to find a list of what order things would happen in the program, and finally did on the front of it. I'm used to churches that have a set program, listing each thing in the exact order it happens (when to sit, when to stand, when to pray, etc.), so not having that was a little weird at first.

The sermon was very good, much to my delight. The minister was easy to listen to, funny, and insightful. The message (the value of work) was one that anyone could benefit from, not just Christians, which is what I liked the best. He used examples from his own life, stories others had told him, and tied it all in with examples from the Bible. There was only one comment I was a little confused about (regarding a bumper sticker), but overall the sermon left me feeling good. Erica and I introduced ourselves to the minister before we left, letting him know that we had enjoyed our experience and how beautiful we felt the church was.

So overall, a good church. There were times when I didn't feel like the whole congregation was really "into" what was happening, but there were plenty of people singing with the music, and the general mood was lighthearted and happy. I personally would have liked to see more tradition in this church, since that is what I always liked about my old church, but I enjoyed myself here nonetheless. Thanks to Erica for letting me guest hop with her!

ERICA M.: Man. After reading Erica B.'s post I don't have a whole lot else to add. She pretty much nailed it.

Just a little back story: I went out of town this weekend with three of my friends: Jared, JT, and Erica B. On Sunday morning we were in Springfield, Ohio... hence the pretty good distance from our other churches. Erica was a delightful Hopper-- I know it's a little intense the first time. I'm just now starting to get used to Hopping, to tell you the truth. She was very open-minded and I was so glad to not have to skip a church. Springfield had a ton of beautiful churches, and this was no different (although they're apparently moving to a different facility in a couple of weeks).

Hm. Erica B. seriously nailed everything. I wasn't as surprised as she was by the AV and the lack of Bibles/hymnals-- a lot of churches have these elements from what I've run across so far. There was a large congregation, including a second floor balcony-type thing, and the songs were plentiful (read: let me sit dowwwwwwn please) and not surprising to me. It was a great standard church and the sermon was great. Like Erica B. already said.

***Coming soon: Bradley & guest Hopper with their review of Crossroads!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Delay

Hello faithful (eh? get it?) readers!

Sorry that there wasn't a post on Sunday... or on Monday... or maybe even on Tuesday. (We'll see.) There *will* be a post, though... in fact, there will be more than a post!

Bradley is working on a post about Crossroads, which I blogged about a while back but he never got to see. So that's one entry, plus his guest Hopper...

PLUS, I visited a church when I went out of town this weekend, and I had a guest Hopper of my own! So fear not... there will be a(nother) slight delay on the post but it will be here soon... you have my word on it. (...Ellipses power...!)