Sunday, September 10, 2006

Church #17: First Baptist Church of Glen Este

(Sorry for the picture... again! I forgot to take my own when we were leaving so I had to grab this one from their site.)

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: 3. No comment.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
First Baptist Church of Glen Este
1034 Old State Route 74
Batavia, OH 45103

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
This was the third that Gail recommended to us.

6. Time/duration of services:

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

8. Who did you meet?
Actually, Lisa (?) met us. She was a very, very nice and welcoming woman that sat next to us in the balcony, loaned Bradley her Bible, recommended youth/singles ministries to us, etc. We were a little unprepared for her but she was incredibly welcoming.

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

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

ERICA: Despite the warm welcome by Lisa (#8), I had a fairly uncomfortable experience at First Baptist. We even had the honor of some mild celebrity attendance but it just wasn't enough.

We were about 20 minutes early for services but the huge church was already filled, casting us up to the balcony. We later found out that they were so overcrowded all the teens had been sent to their own service in a different complex-- that helped explain why we were the youngest ones there and it was pretty impressive to see such a turn-out. Then I remembered that it's 9-10-2006, or 9-11 Eve. It all started to come together a little more.

One thing I really did like: reserved seating for police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, etc. (Elected officials...) I don't know if that was just a 9-11 thing or not, but I was behind it.

A first for me: full choir w/robes and everything, with a church orchestra. That's right... brass, woodwinds, you name it. There was a lot of music. Sooo much music. Some of it was pretty nice, but there were a lot of songs about freedom, etc.

The the PowerPoint began, which I could also handle, even though it was hardly inspired. The same photos of 9-11 I've been seeing for five years now. The same "freedom isn't free"-type mantra that I'm desensitized to. Bald eagles and clip art... you know the drill.

More than an hour had passed with all the music and PowerPoint. I'm sure it was a special service for the occassion and it didn't particularly bother me, until the sermon. Was I ready for anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality? No. Should I have been? Probably. It really hurt to hear the "gay is wrong" diatribe, and then hear a boisterous "amen" from my pew neighbors. What does that have to do with terrorist attacks? Is that just something you have to throw in to every sermon? This of all sermons should be about love.

I can tell I haven't completely captured what I didn't like about the church, and I'm sorry. I've put this post off for a few hours to try to cool down and not by a hypocrite; that is, not post about how much I hate what a church believes, when I was a visitor there and knew what I was getting myself in to. It's not my place to enter a church with established beliefs and then insult them. But this is my blog, damnit, and I would also be lying if I thought I was proud to see high school friends of mine in a congregation that would be so discrimnatory.

Well, this was a very interesting Church. It wasn't until after the service was over that I had realized I had been there once before. (With dad, and his Micheal [ex-business partner]) It had been different the fist time I went there, because we went to an evening service, and things were just overall different. But this time, Erica and I walked in to this fairly large Church, and into the main area, where the service was held. He were there 20 minutes early, and the place was already filled. We had to take two seat at the top of the second tier. We were at the very highest, and farthest back, part of the Church. They had a large portion of the front row reserved for special people. That was odd at first.

Soon after the service started, we realized who the seats were saved for. We were at a special service, to remember 9/11. I'm not at all opposed to special services like this, but there is a wrong way to do it, and a right way. It started off with a few songs, with a very large, very good chorus. After a while of songs, they started with the normal anouncements. Everything was going great, until they had us stand up and say "hello" to some new people. The woman (who was with her husband?) next to us stood right up and shook our hands. After a few times repeating my name (what's so hard with Bradley?) she was telling me ALL about this church's teen programs, and asking about Erica's "status" and telling her about the singels program. This did not help our view of the church at all. I'm sure it's not there fault they have a few over the top people, but like I said, it didn't help.

The service started. Another song was thrown in there, and then they introduced the special people. EMTs (shouts to Bill V), Firefighters, and Policemen. They layed on thick, the (close to) hour and a half long power point, about 9/11. Like I said, I'm all for remembering, it's a good thing, but when you'll putting un-resized pictures of 9/11 you got from Google Images ('and I KNOW they were) it's pretty pathetic. He connected it to the "two towers" in the Bible. I can't remember when they stood for, because the woman next to me was thrusting her Bible in my hands. It was very uncomfortable, and extreamly ackward (both her, and the Church). To make matters worse, they talked about how Abortion is "wrong" and babies are being killed every day, and they also were trying to wipe out the disease of homosexuality. *Sigh*, this church was painfully offensive to me. I don't think I'll ever go back.

the appearence of "Jean Schmidt" only made things worse.