Sunday, May 06, 2007

Church #36: Greater Cincinnati Church of God

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
N/A. Sorry I didn't get a better head-on picture!

4. Name/location of the church:
Greater Cincinnati Church of God
8290 Batavia Pike
Cincinnati, OH 45244
No known website.

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope; we passed it en route to last week's church.

6. Time/duration of services:
10:45am--something like 12:30pm.

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
Aye yi yi. Church of God?

8. Who did you meet?
I feel like I might have shaken nearly every congregation member's hand-- this church was wildly welcoming. I didn't take away any names, however.

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

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

ERICA: First off, "Church of God" is so vague. I've been Hopping for a year now and sometimes I'm frustrated that I still can't tell some sects apart. Remember this Church of God? There were definitely similar elements in this church, but it was also largely different. I guess it all boils down to the fact that every church is different, right?

So first off, how welcome did I feel? Very. Maybe too much so? It can be a little intimidating when you walk into a church and everyone *immediately* recognizes you as a new visitor. Still, before we were even inside the door we were being greeted. One woman invited us to a breakfast that was just ending. Another woman gave me information about the church.

(Quick side note: Bradley's a person too. He's 16 years old, so sometimes it really bothers me when people speak only to me at a church. It happens more than you'd think. People hand me one visitor card, or one program, and often act as though Bradley isn't there. Now, this wasn't completely the case at this church, but it's still something I want to sound off about.)

After we found our seats, there was more fellowship. More hand shaking, more small talk. All fine and dandy-- this church was incredibly social and tight-knit, or at least seemed that way. We were definitely welcomed, though I think only one person asked our names.

The church was pretty large, itself... kind of barnlike, as you can see from the picture on top of this post. Tall ceilings, loud music, lots of involvment (Can I get an "Amen"?). The pastor (is that the right term, in the Church of God? Pastor?) was energetic-- reminded me of an auctioneer, at times.

Oh, and just when I thought I'd seen every possible communion method... this time, during the music, a few people took communion on their own. No one ever said anything about it... just a handful of people did it, alone. This church also has Wednesday night services, so I would guess that's when they do a ritual communion. But that's a guess.

Brad: Well, this church was very interesting. I can remember driving by it as it was being built, and it's a realitivly large church in itself, which was painted and presented pretty nicely. Anyway, this church was so welcoming it almost hurt. It's very nice to be greeted into something that's so personal for most people, but it's even more awkward to be cast as a "visitor" with just a simple glance, like Erica said.

They went through a run of announcements, and some people were still coming in and out, and kids running through the halls, and the band was still getting some mic problems out the way. And older gentleman came up and handed Erica and I some hard candy with a scripture passage on it. A nice gesture, but a little unexpected.

Anyway, this church couldn't have had more than 50 people, which I've found is pretty small for a church, but they all seemed to have a clue and hand in what was going on. The music started, and it was very loud. It wasn't so loud I couldn't stand it, but they could have afforded to tone it down a bit, considering the projector was shaking because of the amplification.

After a while of songs, the preacher came up. This guy had some good things to say, but a style I wasn't much used to. It was very high paced and loud. I could only think of one thing during, which is "if you highlight everything, you highlight nothing". It just really turned me off, because he had such a high energy thing going.

I guess I just couldn't help feel very odd in this church.