Sunday, January 28, 2007

Church # 28: Lakeview United Church of Christ

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica.

How welcome did you feel at this church?
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.


3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Lakeview United Church of Christ
8639 Columbia Road
Maineville, OH 45039

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope-- it's on the way to our grandmother's house.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
According to Wikipedia, UCC is a Protestant Christian church. If anyone has any more info, feel free to let me know.

8. Who did you meet?
The pastor himself, John Specht, welcomed us when we came and when we left.

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

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

ERICA: We almost didn't find this church. We were on our way to another church that we thought started at 10:30, but in actuality it started at 10:45 so we were way early. While cruising to see if there were any slightly earlier churches, we found this one... but their sign was so small and so hard to read that we almost skipped right past it.

When we pulled into Lakeview (what lake?!) I noticed that the back of the church was far more ornate and beautiful than the front (facing the road)-- which I really liked. It made me feel like the church cared more about what the congregation thought of it than what the rest of the passersby did. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that's what I took away.

When we parked we noticed that it was what we'd been calling an "old church"-- we didn't see anyone entering the church who was anywhere near our age. (This is not a good or bad thing, just something we tend to notice.) Inside we were welcomed by pastor John Sprecht and we entered the auditorium, which had some of the most beautiful stained glass I've seen so far (check out the picture, which doesn't do it too much justice).

I don't know much about the United Church of Christ, but everything was scripted out in the program. There wasn't too much standing-- yea! The prelude was a piano piece played by a young kid (younger than Bradley), and I really really liked it-- I wish I knew what song it was. Very pretty (and well played, I might add). The rest of the music was fairly traditional-- hymnals and the like.

They brought up the guy who redesigned their website, and they passed around bookmarks with the URL. (Dot com! La di da!) I wish their new site had some information about what the UCC stands for, so I wouldn't have to turn to Wikipedia for that information-- but I guess most of the people visiting their site already know, right?

The sermon didn't particularly affect me, although he did start talking about advertising! He mentioned (half joking?) that if he hadn't become a pastor, he would have been in advertising. (If you don't know, that's what I do for a living.)

The rest was... normal. Oh! Except they passed ledgers around for attendance/newcomer information (which is normal).... but during the dismissal, the pastor welcomed us by name (someone who gathered the ledgers must have given him the names that were collected). That was very surprising and while I was taken aback, I definitely think it was a great idea. Very simple and very meaningful.

We were welcomed again (twice) as we were leaving. Altogether a very welcoming, comfortable church, but nothing that spoke directly to my heart.

BRADLEY: Well, this was a great little church in Loveland. When we first saw it, the sign was small, and the front resembled a bunker to me, with large concrete walls, and a very flat front. Although the front looked like this, the back of the church looked really simple, and clean. This was a good thing. We walked in with some other people to a large group of people just standing around talking to one another. This seems normal, or at least common in most churches.

We faded into the auditorium, and were greeted by the candle lighting, and some hymnals. The music wasn't great, but the single pianos were pretty cool. I would have loved to see a little more in the music department, but like the announcements would later say, they were short a few members due to a retreat.

Then they brought up the man who designed the church's website. I was happy to see they were treating their webmaster so well. It was also pretty cool to see a church like that go online. It's just such an unknown vast for so many people.

The sermon wasn't too bad, but could have (in my opinion) used a little more "ummpff". He started it off with a SuperBowl commercial segway, which I found totally weird. I guess I just wasn't expecting it. Anyway, they passed out bookmarks which I really liked. (to commemorate their website) This was a good little church, and beautiful as ever.


Pastor John Specht said...

Dear Friends, It was good to have you visit with us. Sorry you were less than moved by the worship service (most folks realize that it is the long term and movement of the church rather than each service that counts!). If you want to know about the United Church of Christ just go to and you'll find as much and more than you ever wanted to know. You might be surprised to know that our "beautiful stained glass" was printed on an ink jet printer using a new process that is very affordable ($3,600 as opposed to nearly $70,000 for stained glass). Glad you found us friendly - we try hard. The reason you found few young people was that a good number were on spiritual retreat as we mentioned during the announcement time. You might also be interested to know that in addition to you we have a weekly AA meeting that serves over 150, a NA meeting that serves 50-60, a Preschool that serves 250 weekly and a Weight Watchers group that serves over 100 weekly. We try to put our message into living words and actions which by the way was the theme of the ho-hum sermon. Peace and cheer, Pastor John

Eebs said...

Pastor John-- Thank you for visiting and thank you twice over for responding to the post. It's great to hear about all the groups you guys maintain! And yes, I LOVED your windows, even if they weren't legit stained glass (I couldn't tell!). Bradley and I definitely realize that the goal is a long-term "movement", and never really meant to suggest otherwise-- there have been plenty of discussions of this nature since Church Hop started-- it's one of the most interesting parts of our project. :)

Donna said...

Erica and Bradley, I find your site entertaining and insightful.

I have been attending Lakeview about two years. I was drawn in by the people and Pastor John. The United Church of Christ is inclusive; they believe in agreeing to disagree. Their goal is to UNITE, not divide.

I find it interesting that you (Erica) want to be converted in your first visit. It is over time that I have learned how the people of Lakeview are living the love of Christ through their daily lives.

By the way, I too have been in advertising (graphic design). Thank you for visiting our church. Please let me know if you would like more information or to have lunch sometime! I mean that.

Donna Wyatt

Eebs said...

Thank you for your comment! I do not expect (or wish) to be "converted" in one visit. I hope that you'll read through a recent blog post I wrote about what this project means to me and what I hope to take away from it.

Eebs said...

Oops! Here's that link.

Anonymous said...

The song played that day was The Mazurka Opus 67 Number 2 by Chopin. Chopin created some beautiful piano music! Donna

shahadat hussain said...

Nice post.Know from your blog about
Church Hopping

Lakeview Lodge bed and breakfast gidgegannup