Church Hunting

Looking for a new church home here has been…an experience. We’ve look at three churches over the past three Sundays. The first two were standard middle-of-the-road broad church parishes. The bonus was that we knew folks at both and our friends preached both weeks, giving good, strong, biblically and theologically grounded sermons. It’s just–the liturgy wasn’t quite what we prefer. Nothing *wrong* with it, it just didn’t fit with who we are.

So last Sunday we explored the self-proclaimed Anglo-Catholic parish in the area.

Oh my.

My first sign that we might be in for a time was when I spotted a guitar on a stand next to the priest’s seat. I was afraid it would get picked up and utilized in a kitschy St. Louis Jesuits type number during the offertory or communion.

It didn’t.

No—it got used during the sermon.

And the congregation was made to sing along as the priest strummed a southern gospel song. And the sermon was best described as “here are some things I thought were interesting that I encountered last week”. While a few of them weren’t bad not only did they not cohere—this went on for over a half hour…

It went down-hill from there.

Confession and other bits from Rite III. Uninformed liturgical cherry-picking of liturgical gestures during the Eucharist. The feared St Louis Jesuit numbers during the communing of the faithful. Etc.

There was earnest discussion in the car on the way home of attending at the convent…

Given child-care and children’s education concerns, though, we’ll probably head to one of the broad church parishes for now.

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11 Responses to Church Hunting

  1. Anastasia says:

    oh my. well. believe me, you have my full sympathy.

  2. bls says:

    But go to the convent from time to time anyway. It’s a good thing.

    (And I’d bet a million you’ll be going for Vespers now and again, too….)

  3. David E says:

    What is a “kitschy St. Louis Jesuits type number” anyway. How would one find out what this means?

    is there any setting for a guitar in the liturgy that you would find acceptable?

  4. John-Julian, OJN says:

    The devilish thing about being seriously liturgically formed (and informed) is that most others aren’t. On a sabbatical some years ago, I participated in Sunday Eucharist at a different church every week – some fifteen or so within a twenty-five mile radius. Between crippled liturgy and poor preaching I found not a single one that I could have tolerated on a regular basis! Lord, was I grateful to get back to the monastery!

    As you suggest, it is often things like child-care and Sunday School that are the determining factors. But I have always wondered what happened with/to children in the early days? I can’t imagine a child sitting through a John Chrysostom sermon! What did they do about it then? I really don’t know…nor do I recall it being mentioned in any of my early church studies. (After all, “Sunday School” is a 19th century invention — and it wasn’t even primarily “Christian formation” at first, just the three R’s.)

    I would guess that in your situation I might opt for the convent, do my own Christian formation program for my kids, and work out a way for them not to be disruptive at liturgy. (We did have one family which used our monastery as their parish church for about four years – and it generally worked pretty well.)

    But, actually, I’m glad it’s your problem, not mine.

  5. Brian M says:

    GASP? Mt. Calvary?

  6. No—we’re actually looking locally first. But we’ll probably visit there as well as some of the justly famed Washington churches.

    As much as I might like going there (or the convent) there’s the issue of how they consider my wife’s vocation… :-)

  7. Brian M says:

    That is a fair point, and true for the Convent as well. Their chaplain is an officer in FIF.

  8. Oh, we know him quite well. He is an excellent priest.

  9. John-Julian, OJN says:

    Oooooops! Sorry!

    I didn’t realize WHICH convent you were talking about! I love those dear Sisters, but they haven’t quite caught up yet…..

  10. Broad Church means different things on either side of the pond. The English meaning is liberal, a category that’s, well, broad, from people who believe the creeds but are untraditional on other matters to those who don’t. The American meaning here is more like Central Church, middle of the road.

    I love those dear Sisters, but they haven’t quite caught up yet…..

    I’ll give you $100 (a donation to your community of course) to go to an ecumenical confab, walk up to an Orthodox bishop, tell him you’re from the Episcopal Church and then say that to his face. ‘I love you dear people but you haven’t quite caught up yet…’

  11. bls says:

    I’ll take that offer…..

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