Sunday, October 22, 2006

Church #22: Clough United Methodist Church

(Hey! If you haven't read last week's guest hop, be sure to check it out!)

1. Who attended? Bradley, Erica and Bill!

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: I think I'd say a 5.
BRADLEY: I'm going to say 5 as well
BILL: 7.

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Clough United Methodist Church
2010 Wolfangel Road
Cincinnati, OH 45255

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope... it's on a road we are familiar with.

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

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

8. Who did you meet?
No one in particular.

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

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

ERICA: I'd been excited about this church for a while because it seemed so beautiful. It sits atop a hill, has a giant bell, flag and cross, and has hints of stained glass all along the outside.

When you get inside it really is just as beautiful as it lets on. The windows are absolutely gorgeous-- I only got a picture of one because taking pictures in a church is weird. The room is bright and large. Oh, and then you walk into the lobby area, there are signs pointing you toward the various parts of the church-- thank you. :)

One of the first things I noticed was the table of nametags-- most people wore them through the entire service. I thought this was a great idea and that it really spoke to the welcome feeling of the church. However, no one really went out of their way to welcome us, even during fellowship. Don't get me wrong; it was not hostile at all. It just felt as though they had their own community and if we wanted to enter it, that was up to us.

I really liked Pastor Jonathan. He was very animated (I overuse that word, don't I?) and cheerful. The service from start to finish was incredibly long, especially if you're not a regular member of the church because there were entire (unneccessarily long) presentations about the current finances of the church, for example. Even with the music at a minimum (a few unenthusiastic hymns and a very impressive song by a member of the congregation), I felt like I was there for an eternity.

BRADLEY: Erica and I have seen this church for many years. It's been driven by, by so many people, that everyone has seen it. Well, for the first time, I finally got to go in. When we all three walked in, I noticed the large group of nametags sitting on the tables in the lobby for it's members. Kind of ackward not having a "members" tag (and if there was, we didn't see it), but everything else was a slow pace as we shuffled into the main room.

This room was very cool, the wood theme, on top of the long size of it all, and when you combined it with the stained glass windows, everything looked great. I can't say the same for the actual service. When the announcments came on, a very nice guy went through the weekley goings-on. Then came a very ackward and slow message about there program of giving more to the church. There are so many ways to hint and ask, but I realize at one point, you're going to have to address the congregation. It just seemed like it could have been more prepaired.

Then came the sermon, giving by a very intresting fellow. At first glance, he seemed like an average guy, but with his slight accent, and slow speech-it was totally different. I don't know why, but I really like him, and while his message was a little shaky at times, it all wrapped up nicley.

BILL: Today was my first time attending an official service at a non-Catholic church, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The Catholic mass is very methodical, structured, and, at times less than captivating. My only basis for what services are like within other denominations has been television, which isn't exactly a trusted source. Regardless, it has left the impression that more upbeat churches exist and Clough United Methodist Church met that expectation.

We were greeted by several people which made me feel welcome. The pastor, John, seemed really excited to be there and lead the congregation and I appreciated his enthusiasm. You can't expect the congregation to be enthusiastic unless they are led as such. During the the part of the service where those around us shared recent joys and concerns from their lives, everyone appeared to know each other fairly well. Pastor John was familiar with their names and situations. That is something that is less common in a larger congregation like the one I've attended, and seemed like it would be really nice.

The part of the service I least enjoyed was the segment on finances, especially the part where they listed how many people gave certain amounts regularly. It seemed like telling the people who gave less than the norm what they ought to. Churches do cost money to operate, so it is a necessary evil I suppose (for lack of a better term). All in all, it was a good church experience for me.