Monday, July 11, 2011

Church Visits

When I proposed my sabbatical, I had in mind two focus areas for my summer activities: 1. studio art work, and 2. visiting progressive, multiracial churches. Turns out I did not have the time and energy this spring to plan the second very well. So when June 1 approached, it was clear my heart was really in the first focus of getting back into studio work (also helps that I received a small grant to support it). Furthermore, as I got to work in the studio, I quickly realized that will keep my plenty busy for the summer.

That said, I am enjoying at least visiting some area churches on Sunday mornings, if not traveling much further.

In June, my parents and I visited Bright Side Baptist Church in Lancaster. I've had the opportunity to interact with Louis Butcher a couple times, and as many of you know, Glen Lapp's memorial service was there. So I have been wanting to visit the congregation for worship sometime.

And yesterday I walked a few blocks to visit Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on South Duke Street. It's one of the oldest churches in Lancaster (built in the 1760s), and the building itself is worth a visit. The service was a lovely mix of high church, old fashioned mainline worship combined with thoughtful, progressive clergy. The sermon was by their resident scholar, and Lancaster Theological Seminary prof, Greg Carey. The presiding pastor was Sadie Pounder, who has been an active, prophetic voice on prison issues in the County (coincidentally, she was quoted in the paper yesterday).

Greg's sermon was spot on, one of a series on civility in public discourse. It was a good palate cleanser after a week of rather uptight feelings as a delegate at the Mennonite convention.

I hope these old churches like Trinity find was to hang on long into the future. They feel like kindred spirits to me. And they offer a compelling mix of tradition and progressive thinking. Most of the people in the room were over 65 years old, so who knows what's in store for them. But they are an active and valuable presence in the neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

Hey Chad - just a note to let you know I've been enjoying your blog posts about your summer sabbatical. Re. churches to visit - if you feel like getting a little further out of the city some Sunday and visiting some Anabaptist "cousins", head on out to Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, a wonderful, open, progressive congregation. If you haven't met Greg Davidson Laszakovits in your travels yet, I have a feeling you and he would really hit it off and have lots to talk about. He's one of the pastoral team at ECOB. Here's the ECOB website: They're on Facebook too at "Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren".

01 August, 2011  

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