Sunday, April 15, 2007

Church #34: Mother of Christ Catholic Church

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.

BRADLEY: 8, for great music, and a great time

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Mother of Christ Catholic Church
5301 Winneste Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45232

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Yes! I met Ena during a computer class I was taking, and she pointed me toward her home church. (Thank you so much for the recommendation!)

6. Time/duration of services:

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

8. Who did you meet?
I was able to introduce Bradley to Ena and her son. Yea!

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

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

ERICA: Bradley and I have been very interested in visiting more... diverse churches than we have been. While each church is a new experience for us, they've mostly had... let me just say this... predominately white congregations. I hope the distinction doesn't offend anyone. It's just the truth.

I was incredibly excited when Ena invited me to Mother of Christ. For one thing, it's a major honor when people invite us to their church at all, because it's such a personal and trusting gesture. But it also took us out of our tiny Eastgate comfort zones, which is so much of the idea of Church Hop in the first place. Go do new things, visit new places, meet new people. All that jazz.

Bradley and I made a 40 minute trek to step out of those comfort zones, and we were rewarded with an incredible experience at Mother of Christ. The people were so warm and inviting, well before Ena showed up and took us under her wing. One woman brought us each visitor cards attached to small name tags so that people might address us by name-- no one had offered us that before. Other people stopped at our aisle on the way to their seats just to welcome us or shake our hands.

The music was incredible-- a passionate, gospel feel that carried on through the entire service. Before offering, during communion, after the sermon... whenever there was a pause, there was energetic gospel to fill in the holes. One woman in the choir signed along with the music beautifully, which was another thing I hadn't seen before but it added a great layer to my experience.

Communion passed without incidence, to my delight. The pastor gave a warm, relevant and briefish sermon. The woman doing the announcements welcomed us by name (visitor cards!) and the congregation welcomed us in unison.

A lot of my experience came from Ena, too... though she tried to keep her distance during the service so that we could pull our own experience from it. Still, she whispered page numbers to us so that we could follow along (a LOT easier in a borrowed missal than in a Bible, by the way), and afterwards she told us about the beautiful mosaics and murals in and on the church. There were wall-sized scenes of religious moments, with members of the congregation depicted in the scenes.

Sometimes I wish more churches had art like that, but I know it's not every church's style. Still, Mother of Christ was beautiful to me in so many ways. I appreciate being invited, and I especially appreciate being welcomed before anyone even knew I was invited.

BRADLEY: Well, Erica and I finally reached out to a farther church than we normally go to visit Mother of Christ Catholic church. I have to say, the journey (although mapquested) was very much worth it.

This was a great church, and so much more diverse than I'm used to, so it was a really awesome experience to collect and gather views from other areas of the community. Upon entering, I noticed that this dumped us out right into the main auditorium, and even though Erica and I were a little early, there were already people setting up and hanging out. We grabbed some seats, and I had a good chance to look around. The building was an older building. I could tell everything had been used, but in a good way.

The service started, and I was dipped in some of the best singing I have ever heard come out of a church. The choir, which had around 12+ people were just singing their hearts out, which made it really easy to just get lost in the words. It was really something special. Erica's friend Ena (who invited us) was there to help us along through the service. (which was really helpful) That's what is really hard about Catholic churches, but this church wasn't as formal as some of the Catholic churches we've been to, which I really liked, just for the sake of it being new.

Then the pastor came up to give his sermon, which was all around too brief, because I would have liked the chance to hear him get into a larger service, to hear what he had to say. He seemed like a really cool guy, and while I wasn't always in complete comprehension of what he was saying, he delivered a powerful message. During our greeting, people were hugging me and shaking hands, and going out of their way (even the singers came down) just to say hello. That rocked.

Usually when we visit a church, you can see who is there just to say then went to church, and you can see the people who are there to get in touch with their community and reach out with some fellowship. At this church, I saw more people trying to reach out then I've ever seen.


Lewis said...

Ummm, Where's Bradley's take on it?

JenLo said...

It's awesome that you got to visit a Catholic church with more of a community feel than the others had. I guess it goes to show that every church has its own personality regardless of the denomination.

Eebs said...

Lewis... calm down, haha! I posted this last night when Bradley was asleep, and he's at school now. Check back soon... he will add his two cents as soon as he gets a chance. I didn't want to hold up posting.

Jenlo... yeah, it was great to have a different perspective on the Catholic church that had so been rubbing us the wrong way. ;) You're absolutely right.

d-mc said...

I was a little confused reading it. Was this a predominantly african-american congregation?

"The music was incredible-- a passionate, gospel feel that carried on through the entire service."

That line makes it sound like a great black-gospel choir to me. Which I LOVE!

I love my church but the music is REALLY white. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :)

Eebs said...

Sorry to confuse; yes, the congregation was predominately (95%?) African American.