Visiting Churches

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truthseeker
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Visiting Churches

Post by truthseeker » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:43 pm

Of course christians in a christian church should be welcoming. I just never have been used to be very social in a church and too much attention coming to my way just because i happened to go to a church service is frustrating to me.

I have experience mostly with Orthodox and Catholic churches and they are very different.

I was baptised when i was very young and read the Bible since i am 12 and this was a difficult thing to find and buy in those days in a communist country.

Despite not being a church-goer for the most part of my younger life, the amount of things Jesus did for me and still does is amazing.

Being evangelizing myself through reading evangelical literature, again almost a miracle to being able to find in my parent's attic, and the Bible was my way of being a Christian.

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Pam
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Visiting Churches

Post by Pam » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:53 am

When I started going to church as an adult I went through a phase of 'church shopping', trying to find the right place for me. It took quite a while and yes, some churches were a bit over-keen in homing in on the 'new face' and asking lots of questions. One curate even came round to see us (my husband not having been part of the church shopping expedition) and ended the visit by praying for us, which I found excruciatingly embarrassing.

But I put up with it, and with all the weird questions about why I was in their church that day, because I appreciated that the motives behind it were good.

I think in most cases the 'welcoming' is not only well meant but based in an understanding of scripture which tells us to welcome the stranger in our midst. Talking to strangers and being hospitable is distinctly counter cultural to some of is which is why it may come across as awkward or over the top.

In fact the church I ended up in for several years was the one where the priest asked me to come to coffee when I was trying to slip out at the end of the service and the vicar's wife recognised me from the one time I'd met her before and seemed genuinely pleased to see me.

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Joe Parrish
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Visiting Churches

Post by Joe Parrish » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:45 pm

We have begun an ongoing effort to get to know each other's first names at church so we ask everyone to wear a nametag, its sticks on your clothing lightly, and there's one now in each bulletin. It seems to be working. We do not distinguish visitors from 'regulars' but have been asking the 'regulars' to be greeters of everyone and to try to learn all our names. We have two services on Sundays, one in English and one in a Spanish, which is slightly bilingual, so it's a bit of a challenge (and I'm looking for name tags that instead of saying, "Hello, my name is" but say "Hola, mi nombre es"). However, so far folks seem to like having others know their names. :thumbs: When I first came to my church 23 years ago, I asked the first two people leaving the church after service what were their names and how long had they gone to St. John's Church. One said, '26 years' and the person behind them said, '30 years.' When I asked if they knew each other, both said, 'No.'
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Coriander
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Visiting Churches

Post by Coriander » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:44 pm

I have been interested in peoples' comments on this thread and it's helped me to understand perhaps my experience when I visited Knaphill Baptist Church for an evening service recently.

When I arrived there was a lady at the door that gave me a service sheet. I asked her if there were any particular instructions I needed to know, and she said 'sit near the front because we are all family here'. So I sat second row from front on the right hand side. Other people came in and sat on the left in groups. Then a lady (the only person who was called by name by the greeter) came and sat the other end of the row from me. No one talked. It was very alien to me but I know that some churches etiquette is not to talk.

When it came to the peace people only said 'Peace be with you'. There was no swapping of names, or other comments, just handshakes.

At the end of the service everyone got up and left without speaking to one another. I tried to talk to the lady on the end of the row before I went. Then I tried to talk to the minister as I left. I don't think he was interested in new people. I asked if they had a midweek Bible study in the village, but they only had them in surrounding villages. He suggested I came to a morning service, but I said I wasn't free Sunday mornings.

I came away sad because I go to a church some distance away and thought I would try somewhere locally. Unlike Truthseeker I really would have valued being welcomed. I like interaction.

:coffee:
I like regularity, and the four nearest Anglican's are all part-time in that they have services that move times and buildings so, welcoming though they are, I couldn't settle there as I like to know that the service is at the same time every week.
:help:

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Ernest
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Post by Ernest » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:09 am

Hi Coriander,

Did you go to a service of Compline? Because if you did, it's the tradition to leave the service quietly without talking?

However, it's not usual to do the 'peace' during compline, so it sounds like a Eucharist. Again, if it was an evening service, they might have a particular congregation who attend that service, who just wish to be at the service with no other involvement.

In our Benefice of five churches, as well as the five main congregations who habitually attend only their own church, we also have some distinctly identifiable different congregations.

1. Those who prefer Prayerbook (Book of Common Prayer) (BCP) to modern language and invariably attend an 8am Eucharist or a BCP Evensong.

2. Those who will only attend a Eucharist service if is is modern with inclusive language and modern music.

3. Those who will only attend an informal, family oriented or all age service or other activities such as Messy Church or Christingle.

4. Those who will attend all types of service and are happy to travel to any of the five churches for them.

5. Those who are only able to attend mid-week communion (about 8 people)

6. Those in Care Homes who we visit to take Holy Communion to and hold carol services and other activities for them.

This isn't uncommon in Anglican Churches and I suspect that other denominations will have similar, readily recognizable congregations as well.

I know that you said that you are unable to attend a morning service, but I wondered if you were able to just attend one, you might find that you have a completely different worship experience. :thumbs:
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Karen
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Visiting Churches

Post by Karen » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:04 pm

Coriander wrote:I have been interested in peoples' comments on this thread and it's helped me to understand perhaps my experience when I visited Knaphill Baptist Church for an evening service recently.

When I arrived there was a lady at the door that gave me a service sheet. I asked her if there were any particular instructions I needed to know, and she said 'sit near the front because we are all family here'. So I sat second row from front on the right hand side. Other people came in and sat on the left in groups. Then a lady (the only person who was called by name by the greeter) came and sat the other end of the row from me. No one talked. It was very alien to me but I know that some churches etiquette is not to talk.

When it came to the peace people only said 'Peace be with you'. There was no swapping of names, or other comments, just handshakes.

At the end of the service everyone got up and left without speaking to one another. I tried to talk to the lady on the end of the row before I went. Then I tried to talk to the minister as I left. I don't think he was interested in new people. I asked if they had a midweek Bible study in the village, but they only had them in surrounding villages. He suggested I came to a morning service, but I said I wasn't free Sunday mornings.

I came away sad because I go to a church some distance away and thought I would try somewhere locally. Unlike Truthseeker I really would have valued being welcomed. I like interaction.

:coffee:
I like regularity, and the four nearest Anglican's are all part-time in that they have services that move times and buildings so, welcoming though they are, I couldn't settle there as I like to know that the service is at the same time every week.
:help:
I've found it really offputting when I go to new churches and don't know the what is done where and if in silence so I really get how hard services like this can be. As the minister I find it really odd at the end of our early morning service that everyone goes without saying hello to the minister. I have almost sprinted down the back at the end of the service and still they get out of the door before me! I suspect there are lots of introverts in that service which is tricky if you are an extrovert like me who wants a bit of a chat. Can you plug a quarter's worth of servcie times and places from the Anglican place into your computer so you know where they are going to be each week and go and worship with a more outgoing congregation?
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Joe Parrish
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Post by Joe Parrish » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:50 am

We hsve recently institututed name tags for everyone that has been a wonderful success--though it does cost a nickel apiece. It only took us 23 years to do this in a sustained way. We can recommend this.
Peace and blessings,
Joe :)

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Joyce
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Visiting Churches

Post by Joyce » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:57 pm

Karen wrote: I find it really odd at the end of our early morning service that everyone goes without saying hello to the minister. I have almost sprinted down the back at the end of the service and still they get out of the door before me!
Amusing images come to mind, Karen. :lol: Sounds like a good item for youtube some time.
How early is the service ? Perhaps they just want to go home to get their Sunday underway. Or possibly they have reasons for not being able to chat based on bus timetables, BBC schedules,shop hours,pub lunches, pub breakfast deadlines, grumpy husbands,or getting children to gym lessons.
Perhaps you could try making the service five or ten minutes shorter and see if after a few Sundays they don't rush off so abruptly ? :)

If that doesn't work it could simply be that they come from a tradition that thinks worshippers should leave a church without speaking,thinking about what they've been doing and they choose that particular service because its time of day allows them to do just that.
I once knew a minister who tried going to the back of the church during the final hymn and concluding the service from there,so the congregation couldn't leave without at least nodding on the way out. The situation was similar to yours but after an evening service. Results varied. Those who were in a hurry not to miss a bus and have to walk home in the dark didn't find it helpful to be stuck in a queue if anyone in front of them stopped for more than a quick handshake. It's important not to be too close to a narrow doorway.:)

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Joe Parrish
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Post by Joe Parrish » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:07 pm

Joyce wrote:
Karen wrote: I find it really odd at the end of our early morning service that everyone goes without saying hello to the minister. I have almost sprinted down the back at the end of the service and still they get out of the door before me!
Amusing images come to mind, Karen. :lol: <>
I once knew a minister who tried going to the back of the church during the final hymn and concluding the service from there,so the congregation couldn't leave without at least nodding on the way out. <>
Yep, Joyce, :) I am one of 'those' clerics and have made it even worse by having the tea and biscuits right beside me! And now we mostly all wear name tags, so it's not even easy to be anonymous :biggrin: This is a bit of an experiment, but it does seem to pull folks together better.
Peace and blessings,
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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